Is there a word, medical or otherwise, for having a seizure?

The best I can come up with is convulsing or flailing. Any better ones?

  • 4
    "seizing" should do just fine. – jimsug May 10 '14 at 8:13
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    If you actually want people to understand you, say having a seizure. – Peter Shor May 10 '14 at 10:48
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    Medically, if a patient starts having an seizure right in front of us, we'll say, he's seizing, for the sake of brevity and quick coordinated response, but we usually refer to them as seizures (have you had any seizures in the last 6 months?). Seize is too often used in the manner of carpe diem to be a useful term. Spasm, fitting, bucking/writhing are non-specific. Convulsing is acceptable, though one can convulse with laughter/other. What are your objections to having a seizure? It's proper and precise. People flail without seizing. That's why restraints are used. – anongoodnurse May 10 '14 at 16:56
  • I've heard "fitting" (in the sense of "having a fit") used. – Paul Johnson Nov 25 '16 at 20:22

What about "spasm?" It's traditionally defined as a noun, though I've also seen it defined as an intransitive verb:

When convulsing, your body spasms.


To seize can be used as an intransitive verb with the meaning:

  • To exhibit symptoms of seizure activity, usually with convulsions.

To shake meaning to tremble, mainly in the expression having the shakes

  • Uncontrollable trembling, as in a person who is cold, frightened, feverish, or ill. Often used with the: was suffering from a bad case of the shakes.

I'm not a linguist by any means but with one of my foster dogs that has seizures, I've taken to making the word into a verb. For example: my dog seizured last night, my dog is seizuring right now. It may not be a real word but people know what I mean when I say it.

  • Yeah, pretty much any noun can be verbed – NVZ May 17 '16 at 18:14
  • I found some examples for "seizured rats" on Google. Some were scholarly articles. – NVZ May 17 '16 at 18:31

Consider "to buck and writhe" and "get/take sick with convulsions."

He falls on the floor and starts bucking and writhing. He's having an epileptic fit: a doctor jogs over and tends to him.

When I was small, I got sick with convulsions and everyone thought I was dying.

  • That might also describe a child throwing a tantrum. It's nice imagery, but not really specific to seizures. – Barmar May 10 '14 at 8:52

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