"sudden nervous shock and paralysis, the state of an animal when it is feigning death," 1880, Latinized and Anglicized from German Kataplexie(1878), from Greek kataplexis "stupefaction, amazement, consternation," from kataplēssein "to strike down" (with fear, etc.), from kata "down" (see cata-) + plēssein "to strike, hit" (from PIE root *plak- (2) "to strike"). The German word was coined by William Thierry Preyer (1841-1897), English-born German physiologist, in "Die Kataplexie und der thierische Hypnotismus" (Jena). Related: Cataplectic.
updated on November 12, 2022
Dictionary entries near cataplexy