paralyze

verb par·a·lyze \ ˈper-ə-ˌlīz , ˈpa-rə- \
Updated on: 21 Nov 2017

Definition of paralyze

paralyzed; paralyzing
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
  • She sat paralyzed when she heard the news.
5 : to bring to an end : prevent, destroy
  • deadlock paralyzed action
  • —F. A. Ogg & Harold Zink

paralyzation

play \ˌper-ə-lə-ˈzā-shən, ˌpa-rə-\ noun

paralyzer

play \ˈper-ə-ˌlī-zər, ˈpa-rə-\ noun

paralyzingly

play \ˈper-ə-ˌlī-ziŋ-lē, ˈpa-rə\ adverb

Examples of paralyze in a Sentence

  1. The snake's venom paralyzed the mouse.

  2. The air strikes have paralyzed the city's transportation system.

  3. The company was paralyzed by debt.

Recent Examples of paralyze from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of paralyze

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


PARALYZE Defined for English Language Learners

paralyze

verb

Definition of paralyze for English Language Learners

  • : 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


PARALYZE Defined for Kids

paralyze

verb par·a·lyze \ ˈper-ə-ˌlīz \

Definition of paralyze for Students

paralyzed; paralyzing
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.

Medical Dictionary

paralyze

transitive verb par·a·lyze
variants: or British paralyse play \ˈpar-ə-ˌlīz\

medical Definition of paralyze

paralyzed or British paralysed; paralyzing or British paralysing
: to affect with paralysis

paralyzation

or British paralysation play \ˌpar-ə-lə-ˈzā-shən\ noun


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up paralyze? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

an inference not connected logically

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!