par·​a·​lyze | \ ˈper-ə-ˌlīz How to pronounce paralyze (audio) , ˈpa-rə- \
paralyzed; paralyzing

Definition of paralyze

transitive verb

1 : to affect with paralysis The snake's venom paralyzed the mouse.
2 : to make powerless or ineffective A strike would paralyze the industry.
3 : unnerve the parlyzing thing is the uncertainty— Evelyn Whitehead
4 : stun, stupefy I would paralyze the empire with the news!— Rudyard Kipling
5 : to bring to an end : prevent, destroy deadlock paralyzed action— F. A. Ogg & Harold Zink

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Other Words from paralyze

paralyzation \ ˌper-​ə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce paralyzation (audio) , ˌpa-​rə-​ \ noun
paralyzer \ ˈper-​ə-​ˌlī-​zər How to pronounce paralyzer (audio) , ˈpa-​rə-​ \ noun
paralyzingly \ ˈper-​ə-​ˌlī-​ziŋ-​lē How to pronounce paralyzingly (audio) , ˈpa-​rə \ adverb

Examples of paralyze in a Sentence

The snake's venom paralyzed the mouse. The air strikes have paralyzed the city's transportation system. The company was paralyzed by debt.
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Recent Examples on the Web How the Santiago protests have impacted the country In the past week or so, Chile has been paralyzed by a series of protests that started in the capital and have spread throughout the country. Katie Lockhart, Condé Nast Traveler, "How the Protests in Santiago, Chile, Are Impacting Travelers," 28 Oct. 2019 Israel has been paralyzed by political deadlock following an inconclusive election last month, with neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud nor the rival Blue and White party in control of a 61-seat majority in parliament., "Most read on," 28 Oct. 2019 Ethiopia and Eritrea had been paralyzed in a military standoff for 20 years when the prime minister entered office. The Washington Post, Twin Cities, "Other voices: Abiy earned the Nobel Peace award," 17 Oct. 2019 According to the GoFundMe page, created by someone who described themselves as the boy's older sister, the boy's mother has been paralyzed with a rare nerve condition since 2015. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Fundraiser for Houston teen killed in accidental shooting draws attention to family in need," 15 July 2019 The sudden announcement brought relief to a region that had been paralyzed by hundreds of Palestinian rocket attacks in southern Israel and scores of Israeli airstrikes on targets in the Gaza Strip. Fares Akram, The Seattle Times, "Cease-fire takes hold between Israel and Hamas," 13 Nov. 2018 Authorities have called off a lockdown that paralyzed Western Connecticut State University and Danbury Public Schools after learning that a person reported to have been toting a rifle was in fact a university employee carrying a microphone stand. Matthew Ormseth,, "Employee Carrying Microphone Stand Leads To Lockdown At WCSU," 4 June 2018 His right arm has been paralyzed and at this moment, has limited use of his hands and legs. Aurelie Corinthios,, "Project Runway's Chris March Is in a 'Fragile State' as He Recovers from Medically Induced Coma," 26 Mar. 2018 The accident broke 18 bones in her body, collapsed her lung and paralyzed her permanently from the waist down. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Wheelchair basketball star Megan Blunk shoots for the heights," 13 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'paralyze.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of paralyze

1763, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for paralyze

French paralyser, back-formation from paralysie paralysis, from Latin paralysis

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Time Traveler for paralyze

Time Traveler

The first known use of paralyze was in 1763

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Statistics for paralyze

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Paralyze.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for paralyze


How to pronounce paralyze (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of paralyze

: to make (a person or animal) unable to move or feel all or part of the body
: to make (someone or something) unable to function, act, or move


par·​a·​lyze | \ ˈper-ə-ˌlīz How to pronounce paralyze (audio) \
paralyzed; paralyzing

Kids Definition of paralyze

1 : to cause to be unable to move all or part of the body The snake's venom paralyzed the mouse.
2 : to destroy or decrease something's energy or ability to act The city was paralyzed by a heavy snowstorm.
variants: or British paralyse \ ˈpar-​ə-​ˌlīz How to pronounce paralyse (audio) \
paralyzed or British paralysed; paralyzing or British paralysing

Medical Definition of paralyze

: to affect with paralysis

Other Words from paralyze

paralyzation or British paralysation \ ˌpar-​ə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce paralysation (audio) \ noun

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