Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To shake or agitate violently: tremors that convulsed the countryside; when civil war convulsed the nation. See Synonyms at agitate.
  • transitive v. To affect with irregular and involuntary muscular contractions; throw into convulsions.
  • transitive v. To cause to shake with laughter or strong emotion.
  • intransitive v. To become affected by or as if by convulsions; shake.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To violently shake or agitate.
  • v. To create great laughter.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To contract violently and irregulary, as the muscular parts of an animal body; to shake with irregular spasms, as in excessive laughter, or in agony from grief or pain.
  • transitive v. To agitate greatly; to shake violently.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To draw or contract spasmodically or involuntarily, as the muscular parts of an animal body; affect by irregular spasms: as, his whole frame was convulsed with agony.
  • To shake; disturb by violent irregular action; cause great or violent agitation in.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. be overcome with laughter
  • v. cause to contract
  • v. move or stir about violently
  • v. make someone convulse with laughter
  • v. contract involuntarily, as in a spasm
  • v. shake uncontrollably

Etymologies

Latin convellere, convuls-, to pull violently : com-, intensive pref.; see com- + vellere, to pull.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin convulsus, past participle of convellere ("to pluck up, dislocate, convulse"), from com- ("together") + vellere ("to pluck, pull") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Which wasn’t too bad until I noticed it was absolutely everywhere and started to convulse from the overdose.

    Fashion rant « Dyepot, Teapot

  • Your insides will convulse and your heart will twist.

    Famous

  • I convulse for a second, then exhale sharply, slam the glass down and bring the beer to my lips.

    Get Laid or Die Trying

  • Hap felt his stomach convulse as he looked at the translucent skin that barely concealed the bones and tendons of the fingers.

    End of Time

  • He pointed at the fat body, which had begun to twitch and convulse.

    End of Time

  • As Hap watched, with disgust percolating at the bottom of his throat, he saw the nearest fruit twitch and convulse.

    End of Time

  • Thankfully, the lieutenant had slipped into unconsciousness, instead of continuing to squirm and convulse in obvious discomfort due to the attack on his nervous system.

    Star Trek: Typhon Pact Paths of Disharmony

  • Not only are the non-violent actions of one man and the people who are following him causing millions of people to convulse with political and civic activism, but agents of the state are involved in speech suppression using modern technology, while it is age-old social media that seems to be the primary driver.

    Alan W. Silberberg: Oldest Tech, Newest Hero?

  • The vet told us that the cat would probably convulse, loose her bowels or pee on the blanket, and make one last breath-like movement but that she wouldn't be aware of it, because she was just going to fall asleep.

    Dante Requiem

  • He called 911 after the girl began to convulse a couple of hours after he gave her the Suboxone, the papers say.

    Alaska Teen Injected With Heroin Passes Away

Comments

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  • “The rising power of the United States in world affairs requires, not a more compliant press, but a relentless barrage of facts and criticism. Our job in this age, as I see it, is not to serve as cheerleaders for our side in the present world struggle but to help the largest possible number of people to see the realities of the changing and convulsive world in which American policy must operate.�?
    James Reston

    July 19, 2009