Definition of convulse in English:

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Pronunciation: /kənˈvəls/


1 [no object] (Of a person) suffer violent involuntary contraction of the muscles, producing contortion of the body or limbs: she convulsed, collapsing to the floor with the pain
More example sentences
  • Kristine tightened her muscles while her body convulsed.
  • Her body jerked and convulsed in pain and she fell backwards, dropping her sword with a clatter.
  • His words echoed in the emptiness of his mind as his frail, emaciated body began to convulse and was racked by involuntary spasms.
shake uncontrollably, go into spasms, shudder, jerk, thrash about
1.1 [with object] (Of an emotion, laughter, or physical stimulus) cause (someone) to make sudden, violent, uncontrollable movements: Carlos was convulsed by a second bout of sneezing she rocked backward and forward, convulsed with helpless mirth
More example sentences
  • From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter.
  • She looked to the king and queen for support, but both were convulsed with laughter.
  • Please excuse the lack of in-depth analysis of this story, but it's hard to type when your entire body is convulsed with hysterical laughter.
2 [with object] Throw (a country) into violent social or political upheaval: a wave of mass strikes convulsed the Ruhr, Berlin, and central Germany
More example sentences
  • There are huge political and social upheavals that are convulsing the nation.
  • By 1983, protests against the dictatorship by social organizations and the banned political parties convulsed the country.
  • In September 1949, tens of millions hoped that the establishment of a Communist government in China would bring an end to the military and political turmoil that had convulsed the country for most of the first half of the twentieth century.


Mid 17th century: from Latin convuls- 'pulled violently, wrenched', from the verb convellere, from con- 'together' + vellere 'to pull'.

Words that rhyme with convulse

dulse, pulse

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: con·vulse

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