Definition of palsy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɔːlzi/
Pronunciation: /ˈpɒlzi/

noun (plural palsies)

[mass noun]
1 dated Paralysis, especially that which is accompanied by involuntary tremors: a kind of palsy had seized him
More example sentences
  • Other patients may present with fractures, bone pain, cranial nerve palsies and osteomyelitis.
  • As the infection spreads in the temporal bone, it may extend into the cranium and result in cranial nerve palsies.
  • The most common manifestation in children is erythema migrans rash followed by arthritis, facial nerve palsy, aseptic meningitis, and carditis.
1.1 archaic A condition of incapacity or helplessness: is the calmness of philosophy, or the palsy of insensibility, to be looked for?
More example sentences
  • When it is considered into what consternation the bystanders must have been thrown, rendering them, by the palsy of fear, incapable of assisting Lazarus in his struggles to free himself from the folds in which he was wrapped, the sublime self-possession of Jesus appears.

verb (palsies, palsying, palsied)

[with object]
Affect with paralysis and involuntary tremors: she feels as if the muscles on her face are palsied (as adjective palsied) figurative the old boy network laid its palsied hand upon the business of wealth creation
More example sentences
  • His voice had a tremor in it too, words passing out over palsied lips.
  • Padlin looked at Waddley, amazed at the infantile terror palsying his features.
  • The U.S. intelligence community is palsied by lawyers.


Middle English: from Old French paralisie, from an alteration of Latin paralysis (see paralysis).

  • paralysis from Old English:

    This is a Latin word, formed from Greek paraluesthai ‘be disabled at the side’, formed from para ‘beside’ and luein ‘loosen’. Paralytic is late Middle English, and comes via French from the same source. The sense ‘extremely drunk’ dates from the late 19th century. Palsy (Middle English) is from Old French paralisie, which was an alteration of Latin paralysis. The Greek luein is also found in analysis (late 16th century) literally a ‘loosening up’.

Words that rhyme with palsy


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: palsy

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