1A serious form of epilepsy with muscle spasms and prolonged loss of consciousness. Compare with petit mal.
- Epilepsy is called grand mal (major illness) or petit mal also called absence attacks.
- In this kind of epilepsy, also known as grand mal epilepsy, nerve cells in both sides of the brain become overactive at the same time. Seizures usually last for about five minutes, and can be alarming.
- He reassured her that she would not develop the type of epilepsy called grand mal in which people lose conscious-ness.
1.1 [count noun] A grand mal epileptic fit.
- On 4th March, she had a grand mal epileptic fit lasting 3 ½ to 4 minutes, followed by another fit lasting 5 to 6 minutes and a third fit lasting 20 minutes.
- A friend from high school was diagnosed with epilepsy after having a grand mal seizure in a swimming pool when she was 12.
- She suffered from the most serious type of fitting - or grand mal - and they always struck at night while she slept.
Late 19th century: from French, literally 'great sickness'.
Words that rhyme with grand malAl, bacchanal, cabal, canal, Chagall, Chantal, chaparral, gal, Guadalcanál, Hal, La Salle, mall, Natal, pal, pall-mall, petit mal, sal, shall, Val
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