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Definition: a trancelike state of consciousness marked by of voluntary motion in which one’s limbs remain in whatever position they are placed.

Pronunciation: cat-a-LEP-sy


The Greek prefix kata represents the adverb ‘down’, while katalepsis represents a seizure.

Why this word?

On too many occasions in life, we are too shocked, too sad, too happy or too [any other profound emotion] to be able to move. This noun, catalepsy, represents this state exactly. When coming to think about it, we experience it more than we know. Catalepsy may stand its ground even for a tiny millisecond, that exact moment we need in order for us to collect ourselves after an overwhelming attack of emotions.

Catalepsy is also a medical term that is related to hypnosis or shock.

How to use catalepsy in a sentence?

Catalepsy is a noun representing a state of mind in which one is simply unable to move.

She broke his heart; he was catalepsy struck as she told him she was leaving, he remained motionless for the 30 minutes it took me to arrive“.

Catalepsy has a complementing adjective- cataleptic, don’t go mismatching the two:

Nathan clearly lacks the needed experience. He was almost cataleptic throughout the meeting“.


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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.


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