September 15th, 2016

words are sexy

Thursday word: convulsion

Over on my journal, I've been running a theme week of words that are prefix + -vulsion, all of which stem from the Latin verb vellere, meaning to pluck/pull violently. Here's another of that family:


convulsion (kon-VUHL-shuhn) - n., an intense, involuntary contraction of muscles; an uncontrolled fit (as of laughter), a paroxysm; a violent upheaval, disturbance, or agitation, esp. a social one.


The meaning, when it introduced around 1547, was a cramp or spasm, which makes sense given the prefix con-, a variant of com- in front of some consonants (related to cum, with), means together -- so a sudden pulling together, which intensified is a paroxysm.

Earthquakes and other convulsions of nature shake Earth on a regular basis.

---L.