Definition of paralyze in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈperəˌlīz/
(British paralyse)


[with object]
1Cause (a person or part of the body) to become partly or wholly incapable of movement: Mrs. Burrows had been paralyzed by a stroke
More example sentences
  • But, together, the anesthetic paralyzes the body and lets the poison reek havoc.
  • A stroke may have paralysed her body but Kate Thomas's mind is still ticking.
  • Kim previously worked as a taxi driver until 2001 when he was partially paralysed by a stroke.
disable, cripple, immobilize, incapacitate, debilitate
formal torpefy
1.1Render (someone) unable to think or act normally, especially through panic or fear: some people are paralyzed by the thought of failure (as adjective paralyzing) her paralyzing shyness
More example sentences
  • People are almost paralysed by fear and a sense of impotence.
  • I was paralyzed with fear the whole time, unable to move a muscle even if there had been anything I could have done.
  • Dripping with potential but too young to realize the extent of possibilities that lie before us, life can easily seem overwhelming, paralyzing us with fear.
immobilize, transfix, become rooted to the spot, freeze, stun, render motionless
1.2Bring (a system, place, or organization) to a standstill by causing disruption or chaos: the regional capital was paralyzed by a general strike
More example sentences
  • Jakarta turned into a giant battle field when riots paralyzed the capital city.
  • Corruption is very critical not just because it is economically critical and paralyzing our legal system, but it too has been gnawing at our ability to develop a sense of solidarity.
  • Massive protests outside Westminster paralysed the capital's roads for more than 12 hours on Thursday.
bring to a standstill, immobilize, bring to a (grinding) halt, freeze, cripple, disable



Pronunciation: /-ˌlīziNGlē/
Example sentences
  • What we are seeing is that individual application servers will trend toward 100% CPU usage over time - simply, the appservers get pegged and users on those servers encounter paralyzingly slow load times throughout the site.
  • When I emerged, I decided I had better get to work finding a new place to sleep because my room was paralyzingly cold.
  • When he is not working, he is socially inept, almost paralyzingly paranoid, and more than a little bit strange.


Early 19th century: from French paralyser, from paralysie 'paralysis'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: par·a·lyze

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