- a disorder of the nervous system, characterized either by mild, episodic loss of attention or sleepiness (petit mal) or by severe convulsions with loss of consciousness (grand mal).
- a disorder of the central nervous system characterized by periodic loss of consciousness with or without convulsions. In some cases it is due to brain damage but in others the cause is unknownSee also grand mal, petit mal
1570s, from Middle French epilepsie (16c.), from Late Latin epilepsia, from Greek epilepsia “seizure,” from epi “upon” (see epi-) + lepsis “seizure,” from leps-, future stem of lambanein “take hold of, grasp” (see analemma).
Earlier was epilencie (late 14c.), from Middle French epilence, with form influenced by pestilence. The native name was falling sickness.
- Any of various neurological disorders characterized by sudden, recurring attacks of motor, sensory, or psychic malfunction with or without loss of consciousness or convulsive seizures.seizure disorder
- Any of various neurological disorders characterized by recurrent seizures. Epilepsy is caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
A disorder of the brain characterized by sudden, recurring attacks of abnormal brain function, often resulting in convulsions or seizures. The seizures associated with epilepsy can sometimes be controlled by medication.