A sudden, violent outburst of emotion or action.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Spasm, fit, convulsion, eruption, burst, explosion, access.


Calmness, serenity, composure, tranquility.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun paroxysm, paroxysms
Verb None
Adjective paroxysmal
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • When he heard the news, he was seized by a paroxysm of rage and started breaking things in the room.

  • She was having a paroxysm of laughter that lasted for several minutes.

  • The patient’s paroxysms of coughing were so intense that he couldn’t catch his breath.

  • She was overcome by a paroxysm of laughter when she heard the joke.


The word “paroxysm” is often used to describe sudden and intense emotional or physical outbursts. It is frequently used in medical contexts to describe seizures, spasms, or other sudden and violent episodes. For example, a paroxysm of coughing might refer to a sudden and violent fit of coughing, while a paroxysm of pain might describe a sudden and intense episode of physical discomfort.

In addition to medical contexts, the term is also used more broadly to describe sudden outbursts of emotion, such as anger, laughter, or joy. For example, someone might have a paroxysm of rage if they suddenly become extremely angry and lash out at others. Similarly, a paroxysm of laughter might describe a sudden and uncontrollable fit of giggles.

The word “paroxysm” is derived from the Greek word “paroxysmos,” which means “irritation” or “provocation.” The term has been in use in English since the 16th century and has retained its original connotations of sudden, violent outbursts.

Overall, “paroxysm” is a useful word for describing sudden and intense emotional or physical outbursts. It is a dramatic term that can be used to convey a sense of the suddenness and intensity of the event being described.