Share this entry

paralyse Line breaks: para|lyse
Pronunciation: /ˈparəlʌɪz/
(chiefly US also paralyze)

Definition of paralyse in English:


[with object]
1Cause (a person or part of the body) to become partly or wholly incapable of movement: Mrs Burrows had been paralysed 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, immobilize, render/make powerless, incapacitate, debilitate, numb, deaden, benumb, dull
immobilized, incapacitated, powerless;
Medicine paraplegic, quadriplegic, tetraplegic, monoplegic, hemiplegic, paretic, paraparetic
dated palsied
1.1Make (someone) unable to think or act normally, especially through panic or fear: some people are paralysed by the thought of failure (as adjective paralysing) her paralysing 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, become horror-struck/horror-stricken, petrify
rare gorgonize
1.2Stop (a system, place, or organization) from operating by causing disruption: the regional capital was paralysed 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, halt, stop, freeze, cripple, disable, put out of action/commission, render inoperative, deactivate
rare disenable


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



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.

Words that rhyme with paralyse

municipalize • mongrelize

Definition of paralyse in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day innocuous
Pronunciation: iˈnäkyo͞oəs
not harmful or offensive