n. 1 (often followed by of) a sudden attack or outburst (of rage, laughter, etc.). 2 a a sudden fit or convulsion. 2 b a sudden attack, recurrence or worseneing of disease etc. paroxysmal adj.
[French paroxysme from medieval Latin paroxysmus from Greek paroxusmos from paroxuno exasperate (as para-, oxuna sharpen from oxus sharp)]
Source: The Canadian Oxford Dictionary
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