Definition: Epilepsy

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Since sixteenth century; borrowed from French épilepsie, from Latin epilēpsia, from Ancient Greek ἐπιληψίᾱ or epilēpsíā, from ἐπιλαμβάνω or epilambánō (I seize), from ἐπι- or epi- (upon) + λαμβάνω or lambánō (I take). Displaced native Old English fiellesēocnes (falling sickness).


epilepsy (countable and uncountable, plural epilepsies)

  1. (pathology) A medical condition in which the sufferer experiences seizures (or convulsions) and blackouts.

Derived terms

  • epileptic
  • epileptiform
  • severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy


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