Etymology
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paralyse (v.)
alternative (chiefly British) spelling of paralyze. For ending, see -ize. Related: Paralysed; paralysing.
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paralysis (n.)

1520s, "impairment of the normal action of the nervous system in bringing body parts or organs into action," from Latin paralysis, from Greek paralysis "paralysis, palsy," literally "loosening," from paralyein "disable, enfeeble," from para- "beside" (see para- (1)) + lyein "loosen, untie" (from PIE root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart"). Figurative meaning "loss of energy, loss of the power of performing regular functions" is from 1813. Earlier form was paralysie (late 14c., see palsy). Old English equivalent was lyft adl (see left (adj.)) or crypelnes "crippleness."

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paralytic 

late 14c., paralitik, as an adjective, of persons or body parts, "affected with paralysis;" also as a noun "person affected with paralysis or palsy," from Old French paralitique "paralyzed, unable to move," from Latin paralyticus, from Greek paralytikos, from paralysis (see paralysis).

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paralyze (v.)

1804, "affect with paralysis," from French paralyser (16c.), from Old French paralisie "paralysis," from Latin paralysis (see paralysis). Figurative use "render helpless, useless, or ineffective; deaden the action or power of" is from 1805. Related: Paralyzed; paralyzing. Paralized as a past-participle adjective is from early 15c.

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paramagnetic (adj.)

"assuming, when freely suspended between the poles of a horseshoe magnet, a position in a line from one pole to the other," 1850, from para- (1) + magnetic. Related: Paramagnetism.

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paramecium (n.)

"genus of holotrichous ciliate Infusorial" [OED]; "the slipper-animacule" [Century Dictionary]; 1752, Modern Latin Paramecium, the genus name, coined from Greek paramekes "oblong, oval," from para- "on one side" (see para- (1)) + mēkos "length," related to makros "long," from PIE root *mak- "long, thin."

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paramedic (n.)

"medical technician," 1970, back-formation from paramedical. The meaning "medical corpsman who parachutes" is 1951 from parachute + medic.

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paramedical (adj.)

"related to medicine in an auxiliary capacity," 1908, from para- (1) "subsidiary" + medical (adj.).

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parameter (n.)

1650s in geometry, in reference to conic sections, from Modern Latin parameter (1630s), from Greek para- "beside, subsidiary" (see para- (1)) + metron "measure" (from PIE root *me- (2) "to measure").

A geometry term until late 1920s when it began to be extended to "measurable factor which helps to define a particular system," hence the common meaning (influenced by perimeter) of "boundary, limit, characteristic factor," common from 1950s. Related: Parametric; parametrical.

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paramilitary (adj.)

"in reference to organizations or forces analogous or auxiliary to that of military units but not professional," 1935, from para- (1) + military. In early use often in reference to the S.A. and S.S. of Nazi Germany.

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