n. pl. pal·sies
1. Complete or partial muscle paralysis, often accompanied by loss of sensation and uncontrollable body movements or tremors.
a. A weakening or debilitating influence.
b. An enfeebled condition or debilitated state thought to result from such an influence.
3. A fit of strong emotion marked by the inability to act: "Flaherty dithered in a little palsy of indignation" (Anthony Burgess).
tr.v. pal·sied, pal·sy·ing, pal·sies
a. To paralyze.
b. To deprive of strength.
2. To make helpless, as with fear.
[Middle English palsie, alteration of Old French paralisie, alteration of Latin paralysis; see PARALYSIS.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus