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Convulsion   /kənvˈəlʃən/   Listen
Convulsion

noun
1.
A sudden uncontrollable attack.  Synonyms: fit, paroxysm.  "A fit of coughing" , "Convulsions of laughter"
2.
Violent uncontrollable contractions of muscles.
3.
A violent disturbance.  Synonyms: turmoil, upheaval.
4.
A physical disturbance such as an earthquake or upheaval.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Convulsion" Quotes from Famous Books



... out of character had not Ali got up a little convulsion on his own account. One day, in the Targhee's absence, he took his gun to "play at powder," and using English material, succeeded in splitting the machine near the lock. When the Targhee returned, and found what damage had been done, he began first to whimper, and then working himself ...
— Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 1 • James Richardson

... there lighting up with a warm glow the famous alabaster tomb known as "Le Mourant" or "The Dying One." A strange and awesome piece of sculpture truly, is this same "Mourant"!— showing, as it does with deft and almost appalling exactitude, the last convulsion of a strong man's body gripped in the death-agony. No delicate delineator of shams and conventions was the artist of olden days whose ruthless chisel shaped these stretched sinews, starting veins, and swollen eyelids half-closed over the tired eyes!—he ...
— The Master-Christian • Marie Corelli

... to them a sentiment very like respect, resulting from my belief that they belong to antediluvian races. The great convulsion which doomed our ancestors, in the eighteenth century of the world, to fish was a season ...
— The Physiology of Taste • Brillat Savarin

... from head to foot. A powerful electric shock could not have produced a stronger convulsion. He knew Sally of old as cautious and clear-headed, by no means to be stampeded by a brother's eloquence; and he had never looked on this thing as anything better than a hundred ...
— The Adventures of Sally • P. G. Wodehouse

... spared from such convulsion as racked its neighbor on the east, dragged on its secluded existence of backwardness and stagnation. Indians and half-castes vegetated in ignorance and docility, and the handful of whites quaked in terror, while the inexorable Francia ...
— The Hispanic Nations of the New World - Volume 50 in The Chronicles Of America Series • William R. Shepherd

... fear came to help the former, its fit and appropriate congener. With the image of Mr. St. Leger and his cards, rose up also the memory of Mr. St. Leger's decanters; and Dolly lowered her head once in a convulsion of fear. She found she could not bear the course of her thought; it must be interrupted; and she sprang up and hurried on up the bank under the great trees, telling herself that it was impossible; that anything so terrible could not happen to her; it was not to be even so much ...
— The End of a Coil • Susan Warner

... greatest changes in the world's history have been effected by dwellers in the borderlands. Mahomet was an epileptic, and his first vision was the result on an epileptic convulsion or seizure. The character of his visions was exactly like that of those visions which an epileptic sees and describes at the present time. Mahomet believed in his visions, and, what is more, got more than half the world to believe in them also. Gautama was a dweller in the borderlands, ...
— Religion and Lust - or, The Psychical Correlation of Religious Emotion and Sexual Desire • James Weir

... sex and disregarding it, at any rate during the hours of convivial session. The Club is troubled to note that in the intolerable rabies and confusion of this business life men meet merely in a kind of convulsion or horrid passion of haste and perplexity. We see, ever and often, those in whose faces we discern delightful and considerable secrets, messages of just import, grotesque mirth, or improving sadness. In their ...
— Plum Pudding - Of Divers Ingredients, Discreetly Blended & Seasoned • Christopher Morley

... creatures, the largest of which found on Hawaii is 144 millimeters. By a plausible analogy, then, the earthquake which rends the earth is attributed to the god who clothes himself in the form of a lizard; still further, such a convulsion of nature may have been used to figure the arrival of some warlike band who peopled Hawaii, perhaps settling in this very Hilo region and forcing their cult upon the ...
— The Hawaiian Romance Of Laieikawai • Anonymous

... that occur to us in this sublunary stage, a delusion. The bystander mistakes for a spontaneous contention and unwillingness to die, what is in reality nothing more than an involuntary contraction and convulsion of the nerves, to which the mind is no party, and is even very probably unconscious.—But enough of this, the final and most humiliating state through which mortal men may be called ...
— Thoughts on Man - His Nature, Productions and Discoveries, Interspersed with - Some Particulars Respecting the Author • William Godwin

... pale for it, but there was something in such an appearance, in the look it put into the eyes, that renewed Maggie's conviction of what this companion had been expecting. She had been watching it come, come from afar, and now that it was there, after all, and the first convulsion over, they would doubtless soon find themselves in a more real relation. It was there because of the Sunday luncheon they had partaken of alone together; it was there, as strangely as one would, because of the bad weather, the cold perverse June rain, that was making the day wrong; ...
— The Golden Bowl • Henry James

... miles from the sources of that river to the eastern branch of the Red Sea, is a most important feature in the geography of the Holy Land,—indicating that the Jordan once discharged itself into the Red Sea, and confirming the truth of that great volcanic convulsion, described in the nineteenth chapter of Genesis, which interrupted the course of the river, which converted into a lake the fertile plain occupied by the cities of Adma, Zeboin, Sodom and Gomorra, and which changed all the valley to the southward of that district into ...
— Travels in Syria and the Holy Land • John Burckhardt

... or wrong in Kipling was expressed in the final convulsion that he almost in person managed to achieve. The nearest that any honest man can come to the thing called "impartiality" is to confess that he is partial. I therefore confess that I think this last turn of ...
— The Victorian Age in Literature • G. K. Chesterton

... her grasp at length Did gripe like a convulsion! 'Alas!' said she, 'we ne'er can be ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Vol I and II • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

... ten months old, was afflicted with constipation. It was so severe I dreaded to go out anywhere with her, as I knew not when she would be taken with a convulsion. I had tried all the usual remedies in such cases, but it seemed to grow more obstinate. There was a Christian Scientist living in the same house with us, a Scientist who let her light shine, and while she said little, I felt the reflection of Love. I had no knowledge ...
— Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures • Mary Baker Eddy

... what I so deeply regret," Theresa quavered, still obstinately dense and struggling with the after convulsion of her choke. "I felt so shocked and annoyed on your account, Sir Charles, when the maids told me, knowing how you would disapprove such a—such an incident in connection with Damaris.—She was brought home, carried"—she paused—"carried indoors by the owner of that objectionable public-house ...
— Deadham Hard • Lucas Malet

... boiled, seething as if possessed. Then, with a fearful convulsion, the waves parted and the water gave up its prey. Two choking, gasping, spluttering heads appeared simultaneously: with one accord four striving paws clawed desperately at the rim of the butt. The ...
— Anthony Lyveden • Dornford Yates

... pursuing game. Sometimes it was a bear that attracted his chase, sometimes it was a deer, sometimes it was a moose, but all the time it was Miss Butterworth, flying and looking back, with robes and ribbons vanishing among the distant trees, until he shot and killed her, and then he woke in a great convulsion of despair, to hear the singing of the early birds, and to the realization of the fact that his days ...
— Sevenoaks • J. G. Holland

... defections among the Virginians—rare and indelibly branded—but as a people, they were worthy of their traditions and their hereditary honor. With rocking crash and ruin all around her, the grand old commonwealth, scathed by the storm and shaken by the resistless convulsion, still towered erect and proud to the last, and fell only when the entire land had given away beneath her. Two strange features characterized the temper of the Southern people in the last days of the Confederacy. Crushed and dispirited ...
— History of Morgan's Cavalry • Basil W. Duke

... breaketh the cedar trees,'" said I, "but what you hear is caused by a convulsion of the air; during a thunderstorm there are occasionally all kinds of aerial noises. Ab Gwilym, who, next to King David, has best described a thunderstorm, speaks of these aerial noises in ...
— Isopel Berners - The History of certain doings in a Staffordshire Dingle, July, 1825 • George Borrow

... woman in me! Ay, but come near; stand by me, and behold What cause I have for crying. Look but here! Here is the mystery unveiled. O see! Ye people, gaze on this poor quivering flesh, Look with compassion on my misery! Ah me! Ah! ah! Again! Even now the hot convulsion of disease Shoots through my side, and will not let me rest From this fierce exercise of wearing woe. Take me, O King of Night! O sudden thunderstroke. Smite me! O sire, transfix me with the dart Of thy swift lightning! Yet again that fang ...
— The Seven Plays in English Verse • Sophocles

... own eyes filling fast with tears, approached more and more nearly to the father of his betrothed bride, Sir Hugh's intelligence seemed to revive. He sighed heavily, as one who awakens from a state of stupor; a slight convulsion passed over his features; he opened his arms without speaking a word, and, as Tressilian threw himself into them, he ...
— Kenilworth • Sir Walter Scott

... collation, and happily the presence of the food had prevented the poison from attacking the coats of the stomach so violently as would otherwise have been the case. Scarcely had she vomited when a tame boar swallowed what she had rejected, and falling into a convulsion, died immediately. ...
— CELEBRATED CRIMES, COMPLETE - THE MARQUISE DE GANGES—1657 • ALEXANDRE DUMAS, PERE

... extended across the bay we stood out again, and resumed a course along the most rugged and most stony land I ever saw; the stones are all of rounded form and heaped up in a most extraordinary and confused manner, as if it were effected by some extraordinary convulsion of nature. Might they not have been of diluvian origin? This promontory was named by Lieutenant Jeffreys, Cape Melville. At half past one o'clock we passed between the straggling rocks which lie off the ...
— Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia - Performed between the years 1818 and 1822 • Phillip Parker King

... and the good, that is, those which exist and those which do not exist; and when Burke, in the fervour of early liberalism, proclaimed that a revolution was the only thing that could do the world any good: "Nothing less than a convulsion that will shake the globe to its centre can ever restore the European nations to that liberty by which they were once so ...
— The History of Freedom • John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton

... he endeavored to regain his feet, and thrice he failed in his attempts. He strove to speak, but he could only utter a few unintelligible words, for his life blood was suffocating him. A violent convulsion shook every limb, then arose a long, deep-drawn sigh, and then ...
— The Champdoce Mystery • Emile Gaboriau

... and nobles around his couch, and proposed his favorite son as his successor. Then the safe asses of the court kicked the dying lion with seven words of sententious scorn,—"The crown has already its rightful owner"; whereupon the king literally cursed himself to death, for it was almost in the convulsion, of his chagrin and rage that he came to his end, ...
— The English Governess At The Siamese Court • Anna Harriette Leonowens

... told of Red Butte and its region. The Havasupais have a tradition that many years ago a large spring of water flowed from near its base, but in the great convulsion of nature which changed the current of the waters of Havasu Creek the spring disappeared, and never has been seen since. The presence of a number of quaking aspens in the region, however, denotes that water is still ...
— The Grand Canyon of Arizona: How to See It, • George Wharton James

... all its notes. Were we courageous enough to go on, we would further relate to you how during supper Mr. Kennedy senior, tried to make a speech, and broke down amid uproarious applause; how Mr. Kennedy, junior, got up thereafter—being urged thereto by his father, who said, with a convulsion of the cheek, "Get me out of the scrape, Charley, my boy" —and delivered an oration which did not display much power of concise elucidation, but was replete, nevertheless, with consummate impudence; how during this point in the proceedings the gray cat ...
— The Young Fur Traders • R.M. Ballantyne

... ocean's bed, the gnarled and broken trunks of forest trees. Once this ocean-bed was above the water-line, and these trees grew in the sunshine and stretched their branches upward to the blue sky of heaven. But, as the result of some strange convulsion of the earth, the coast-line has sunk down and down, until the incoming tide of the salt sea has swept over it, and schools of porpoises and fishes swim among the branches of old forest trees that in the former time were accustomed to the chatter of ...
— White Slaves • Louis A Banks

... seen it, for I see naught but you, and Lady Jane is to me a lifeless image, as are all other women. But what! You tremble; and your whole frame writhes in my arms, as if in a convulsion! And what is that? Are ...
— Henry VIII And His Court • Louise Muhlbach

... Burke's life is filled up by his great struggle against the French revolution. Already in 1769 he had prophetically asserted that the derangement of French finances must infallibly lead to a violent convulsion, the influence of which upon France and even Europe could be scarcely divined; now he directed the attention of the House (February 4, 1790) to the dangers of the revolution, by which the French had shown themselves "the ablest architects of ruin," ...
— Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 4 of 8 • Various

... of the fire in the wood! The red rush of fire in the air! The red flame of fire in my heart! Fear! Hate! Fire!" With a terrible convulsion the man drew himself up in the Bishop's arms, gazing wildly at the fire all about them, ...
— The Shepherd of the North • Richard Aumerle Maher

... left a strong impression upon me. The first was an address by a colored man named Lewis Washington, a runaway slave, who had a natural gift of oratory and made many speeches in this state. I was so curious to see a genuine black man that I got too close to him when he was in the convulsion of putting on his overcoat, and caught a considerable thump. No harm was done, but he apologized very earnestly. I have read that his campaigning of ...
— Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 5 • Charles Sylvester

... afraid of is that I can't induce them to quit. They're liable to put this freight aboard The Bedford Castle, and then pull down the dock in a spirit of playfulness and pile it in Captain Peasley's cabin. There ain't no convulsion of nature that's equal to a gang of ...
— The Silver Horde • Rex Beach

... out of me by sheer anguish. My limbs refused to support me, and a pang, cold and bitter as though naked steel had been thrust through my body, caused me to sink down upon the pavement in a kind of convulsion. The tall and sinewy monk, without a moment's hesitation, dragged me up and half carried, half led me into a kind of auberge, or restaurant for the poorer classes. Here he placed me in a recumbent position on one of the wooden benches, and called up the proprietor of the place, ...
— Vendetta - A Story of One Forgotten • Marie Corelli

... so delicate the balance of the system of forces whereof he is the centre, that the least irregularity on his part may set up a tremor which shall shake the earth to its foundations. And if nature may be disturbed by the slightest involuntary act of the king, it is easy to conceive the convulsion which his death might provoke. The natural death of the Chitom, as we have seen, was thought to entail the destruction of all things. Clearly, therefore, out of a regard for their own safety, which might be imperilled ...
— The Golden Bough - A study of magic and religion • Sir James George Frazer

... wrote to me on the following day, and said that my mistress, after hearing my letter read, had fallen into a kind of convulsion, and, becoming delirious, she talked incessantly in French for three whole hours in a fashion which would have made all the nuns take to their heels, if they had understood her. I was in despair, and ...
— The Memoires of Casanova, Complete • Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

... closer realization here than among scenes more serene and fair; and, lastly, Reason set in blood and tyranny and there was no more hope from France. But those who, like Wordsworth, had been taught by that great convulsion to disdain the fetters of sentiment and tradition and to look on Reason as supreme were not willing to relinquish their belief because violence had conquered her in one more battle. Rather they clung with the greater tenacity,— "adhered," ...
— Wordsworth • F. W. H. Myers

... knocked at Ishmael's heart. "Something must come to all of us...." Everyone had to die of something, from some outrage on nature. There had to be some convulsion out of the ordinary course to bring it about; cases where the human machine simply ran down, as with the Parson, were rare. This horror was lying in wait for all—the manner of their leaving. It was astonishing, ...
— Secret Bread • F. Tennyson Jesse

... poison; an intense thirst urges them to the fountains, but the water only serves to dilute and render it more potent: their bodies swell, they totter, fall, try to recover their feet, but cannot; then piteously howling are carried off in the height of a titanic convulsion. Often on returning at this season from an evening party, we discern dark receding forms and hear voices too, "visae canes ululare per umbras," as they glide moaning away and are lost in the obscurity of the off streets. Occasionally they anticipate ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 62, No. 384, October 1847 • Various

... Nature's activity in the crucible at the earth's centre make one reflect on the possible consequences of the next great convulsion, and the fate that is in store for those intrepid villagers who have perched their primitive huts on the very edge of the Teng'ger crater. With these reflections, we turn away from one of the most solemn and impressive sights it has been our privilege ...
— Across the Equator - A Holiday Trip in Java • Thomas H. Reid

... would, and then he took a watch chain with links as big as a trace chain and spread it across his checkered vest, from one pocket to the other, with a life-size gold elk hanging down the middle, and ma almost had a convulsion. ...
— Peck's Bad Boy at the Circus • George W. Peck

... intense surprise the little man with the big glasses seemed to be shaking as with a convulsion of laughter. It did not seem as though he worried about the fate of the document Eugene held so rigidly, while awaiting an answer to ...
— The Saddle Boys in the Grand Canyon - or The Hermit of the Cave • James Carson

... two massy pillars, With horrible convulsion, to and fro He tugg'd, he shook, till down they came, and drew The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder Upon the heads of all who sat beneath— Samson, with these immixt, inevitably Pull'd down the ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson, LL.D, In Nine Volumes - Volume the Third: The Rambler, Vol. II • Samuel Johnson

... Maker, hears the roof-beams crack and strain above him, and scuttles about like a rabbit in a stoppered warren. If the shock endures for twenty minutes, the annihilator of time and space must camp out under the blue and hunt for his dead among the rubbish. Given a violent convulsion (only just such a slipping of strata as carelessly piled volumes will accomplish in a book-case) and behold, the heir of all the ages is stark, raving mad—a brute among the dishevelled hills. Set a hundred of the world's greatest spirits, men of fixed principles, high aims, ...
— Letters of Travel (1892-1913) • Rudyard Kipling

... three people having been talking together at a distance, for two minutes, leaving her to her own resources; was quite enough to have put her on her dignity, and the bewailment of that mysterious convulsion in the Indigo trade, for four-and-twenty hours. But this becoming deference to her experience, on the part of the young mother, was so irresistible, that after a short affectation of humility, she began to enlighten her with the best grace in the world; and sitting bolt upright before the ...
— The Cricket on the Hearth • Charles Dickens

... he stood upon his feet, however, Little L rolled up the whites of his eyes, fell his full length to the earth, and writhed on the ground in a convulsion. ...
— Good Blood • Ernst Von Wildenbruch

... Marshal, all the turnkeys, and all the Collegians. In his great self-satisfaction he put his cigar to his lips (being evidently no smoker), and took such a pull at it, with his right eye shut up tight for the purpose, that he underwent a convulsion of shuddering and choking. But even in the midst of that paroxysm, he still essayed to repeat his favourite introduction of himself, ...
— Little Dorrit • Charles Dickens

... island of San Juan, they saw no appearance of land. They continued to pass much pumice-stone; indeed the prodigious quantities of that substance which floated in the sea, between Japan and the Bashee Islands, seemed to indicate that some great volcanic convulsion must have happened in that part ...
— Narrative of the Voyages Round The World, • A. Kippis

... world!' replied Mrs. Corney. 'I couldn't,—oh! The top shelf in the right-hand corner—oh!' Uttering these words, the good lady pointed, distractedly, to the cupboard, and underwent a convulsion from internal spasms. Mr. Bumble rushed to the closet; and, snatching a pint green-glass bottle from the shelf thus incoherently indicated, filled a tea-cup with its contents, and held it to ...
— Oliver Twist • Charles Dickens

... and held a match while she lit it. Then he lit one for himself. Her manner of smoking was leisurely, luxurious. She inhaled the smoke, and let it escape slowly in a slender spiral. He looked at her through the thin cloud, and his heart closed in a convulsion. 'How big and soft and rich—how magnificent she is—like some great splendid flower, heavy with sweetness!' he thought. He had to breathe deep to overcome a feeling of suffocation; he was trembling in every nerve, and he wondered if she perceived it. He divined the ...
— Grey Roses • Henry Harland

... it?" the other responded, rubbing his head. "It's deucedly interesting, but I think I would understand it better if I saw you do it to some one else. It is something between the explosion of a powder magazine and a natural convulsion." ...
— The Firm of Girdlestone • Arthur Conan Doyle

... into a man from Bagdad as from Boston. One can stand in the middle of it and with his westerly ear catch the argot of Gotham and with his easterly all the dialects of Damascus. And if through some unexpected convulsion of Nature 51 Broadway should topple over, Mr. Zimmerman, the stockbroker, whose office is on the sixth story, might easily fall clear of the Greek restaurant in the corner of Greenwich Street, roll twenty-five yards more down Morris ...
— By Advice of Counsel • Arthur Train

... Catholic chaplain with the Confederate army, but sang of its hopes and aspirations in tuneful verse. Serving in the army of the North was Charles G. Halpine, whose songs signed "Private Miles O'Reilly" were very popular in those days of national convulsion in the United States. Halpine's father had edited the Tory newspaper, the Dublin Evening Mail; and Halpine himself, after the war, edited the Citizen of New York, famous for its advocacy of reforms in civic ...
— The Glories of Ireland • Edited by Joseph Dunn and P.J. Lennox

... with wide-open ears, heard the sobs. Elizabeth, peering through the moonlight, saw her sister's form tremble in the convulsion of her sorrow, and smiled a ...
— Beatrice • H. Rider Haggard

... passing by all those spots where four and twenty years later I was to watch the bloodiest battles of the War of Secession, that first and awful convulsion of the great Republic's manhood. Reaching Washington, I was most courteously received by President Van Buren. How often since then I have been back at the White House, under Presidents Tyler, Buchanan, ...
— Memoirs • Prince De Joinville

... excessively enamoured of London. The effects of this violent passion are deeply impressed upon every feature in his countenance, his nose not excepted, which is absolutely most surprising. His body is tossed and shaken like one afflicted with the hot fit of an ague, or the severest paroxysms of convulsion. Then as to his mind, it is altogether distempered. He is perpetually declaiming on the magnificence, the liberty, and the pleasure, which reigns in the imperial British metropolis. He swears, that in that glorious place alone we can enjoy life. He says, there is no breathing beyond St. James's; ...
— Boswell's Correspondence with the Honourable Andrew Erskine, and His Journal of a Tour to Corsica • James Boswell

... theirs. The number of casualties must be nearly into five figures this last battle alone; and when you think of the Russians, the Germans, the French, the Austrians, and the Belgians all like that, the whole convulsion seems more meaningless than ever for ...
— Diary of a Nursing Sister on the Western Front, 1914-1915 • Anonymous

... Aribert, and fell headlong on the floor. He had swooned. The two men raised him, carried him up the stone steps, and laid him with infinite care on a sofa. He lay, breathing queerly through the nostrils, his eyes closed, his fingers contracted; every now and then a convulsion ran through his frame. ...
— The Grand Babylon Hotel • Arnold Bennett

... thickly populous tract, to a town called Washoo, beyond which place they entered a second range of mountains, more elevated and of a more savage character, than any they had hitherto passed; they appeared as if some great convulsion of nature had thrown the immense masses of granite in wild and terrific confusion. The road through this mountain pass, according to the information of Lander, was grand and imposing, sometimes rising almost perpendicularly, then ...
— Lander's Travels - The Travels of Richard Lander into the Interior of Africa • Robert Huish

... A.M. we passed a portage on which the limestone rocks were singularly scattered through the woods, bearing the appearance of houses and turrets overgrown with moss. The earth emitted a hollow sound and the river was divided by rocks into narrow crooked channels, every object indicating that some convulsion had disturbed the general order of nature at this place. We had passed a portage above it and after two long portages below it we encamped. Near the last was a small stream so strongly impregnated with sulphur as to taint ...
— The Journey to the Polar Sea • John Franklin

... attempt by the Republican party to disturb the existing internal policy of the Southern States possible presupposes a manifest absurdity. Before anything of the kind could take place, the country must be in a state of forcible revolution. But there is no premonitory symptom of any such convulsion, unless we except Mr. Yancey, and that gentleman's throwing a solitary somerset will hardly turn the continent head over heels. The administration of Mr. Lincoln will be conservative, because no government is ever intentionally otherwise, ...
— The Writings of James Russell Lowell in Prose and Poetry, Volume V - Political Essays • James Russell Lowell

... of everything. Even the silent mountain boulders are but the monuments of some terrible rhythmic convulsion of the earth in past ages. There is a rhythm in the humming bird and there is a rhythm in the movements of a giant locomotive. We are all rhythmic in our speech, our walk, and in our life more or less. How important then is the study of the rhythmic ...
— Great Pianists on Piano Playing • James Francis Cooke

... very little, and her cheeks were like two roses. Then her father took the bottle and the cork-screw into his hands. What a strange sensation it was to have the cork drawn for the first time! The bottle could never after that forget the performance of that moment; indeed there was quite a convulsion within him as the cork flew out, and a gurgling sound as the wine was poured forth into ...
— Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen • Hans Christian Andersen

... class of Englishmen. Under the later kings of the house of AElfred the number of absolute slaves and the number of freemen had alike diminished. The pure slave class had never been numerous, and it had been reduced by the efforts of the Church, perhaps by the general convulsion of the Danish wars. But these wars had often driven the ceorl or freeman of the township to "commend" himself to a thegn who pledged him his protection in consideration of payment in a rendering of ...
— History of the English People, Volume I (of 8) - Early England, 449-1071; Foreign Kings, 1071-1204; The Charter, 1204-1216 • John Richard Green

... empires of Spain, of the Bourbons, and of the Hapsburgs. The Reformation in England owes much of its character amongst the people at large, apart from the government, above all in the heroic age of the Reformation in England—the Puritan wars—to that earlier convulsion in the nation's consciousness, to the period of anguish and defeat of which we have spoken at some length already. But for the remoter origins and causes of the whole movement styled "the English Reformation" ...
— The Origins and Destiny of Imperial Britain - Nineteenth Century Europe • J. A. Cramb

... screamed Sidonia furiously; but then suddenly strangled the wrath in her throat with a convulsion, as if a wolf were gulping a bone, and continued—"It may be a hard struggle to help one of thy name, but I remember the words of my heavenly Bridegroom (oh, that the horrible blasphemy did not choke her), 'I say unto you, Love your enemies, ...
— Sidonia The Sorceress V2 • William Mienhold

... blubber which they could burn in a month; and their stock of meat, "cached" in another hillock of their berg, was nearly sufficient food for the same period. But long before that time should elapse the young leader knew that relief must come, or that in some grand convulsion of the warring elements, amid the crash of colliding ice-fields and the sweep of resistless surges, the unequal conflict between human weakness and the tireless forces of nature must end, and to him and his comrades "life's fitful ...
— Adrift in the Ice-Fields • Charles W. Hall

... With horrible convulsion, to and fro, He tugged, he shook, till down they came, and drew The whole roof after them with burst of thunder, Upon the heads of all who sat beneath; Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, and priests, Their ...
— Literary Remains (1) • Coleridge

... early violence of the revolution she thought she saw a transient phase—horrible, but inevitable in the dread convulsion of that awakening. Soon this would pass, and the sane, ideal government of her dreams would follow—must follow, since among the people's elected representatives was a goodly number of unselfish, single-minded men of her father's class of life; men of breeding and education, impelled ...
— The Historical Nights Entertainment, Second Series • Rafael Sabatini

... there was nearly an accident. The cart suddenly bounded as though in the throes of a convulsion, began trembling, and, with a creak, lurched heavily first to the right and then to the left, and at a fearful pace dashed along the forest track. The horses had taken fright at ...
— The Witch and Other Stories • Anton Chekhov

... later, in the afternoon, Katharine Howard came upon her mistress with her jaws moving voraciously. Half of the cinnamon cates were eaten from the box on the writing-pulpit. A convulsion of rage passed over the girl's dark figure; her eyes dilated and appeared to blaze with a hot ...
— The Fifth Queen • Ford Madox Ford

... sentence! I am doomed! I am doomed! I have seen my own corpse, and the corpse of my child!' she cried. And then a violent convulsion seized her. ...
— Cruel As The Grave • Mrs. Emma D. E. N. Southworth

... into audible sobbing, hiding her face in her hands, and looking like a tumbled heap of old faded calico in a state of convulsion. ...
— The Pearl of Orr's Island - A Story of the Coast of Maine • Harriet Beecher Stowe

... he muttered, as he stumbled on in the dark. He was oversuspicious. But how else could the facts be explained? Such deaths, he knew, did not occur to men in Preston's condition,—calm, easy deaths, without the agony of convulsion. No, it must be. Science was stronger than desire, than character, than human imagination. To disbelieve his scientific knowledge would be to deny the ...
— The Web of Life • Robert Herrick

... and began to tremble very perceptibly. The other two continued their dance around her, waving their palm fronds over her. The trembling increased in violence until her whole body seemed to be in a convulsion. Her eyes assumed a ghastly stare, her eyeballs protruded, and the eyelids quivered rapidly. The drum and gong increased their booming in volume and in rapidity, while the dancers surged in rapid circles around the possessed one, who at this ...
— The Manbos of Mindano - Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume XXIII, First Memoir • John M. Garvan

... the cliff face there was a cleft, though one invisible even from a few paces away, since its outer edge projected over the inner wall of rock. Moreover, this opening was not above four feet in width, a mere split in the huge mountain mass caused by some titanic convulsion in past ages. For it was a definite split since, once entered, far, far above could be traced a faint line of light coming from the sky, although the gloom of the passage was such that torches, which were stored at hand, must be used by those who threaded it. One man could have held the place ...
— She and Allan • H. Rider Haggard

... have the misfortune to be concerned in it, but upon proper motives, and in a proper spirit, as the servants of God; so that if the sun should be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, and the very heaven should fall upon us, we may fall in the general convulsion without dismay, conscious that we have done our duty in endeavouring to succour the distressed, and that the stain of the blood of Africa is ...
— The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the - Abolition of the African Slave-Trade, by the British Parliament (1839) • Thomas Clarkson

... the way of its universal application the time-honored agreement called the Missouri Compromise. Down to the year 1820, Congress had legislated to keep Slavery out of the Territories; but at that disastrous era, a weak dread of civil convulsion led to the surrender of a single State (Missouri) to this evil,—under a solemn stipulation and warrant, however, that it should never again be introduced north of a certain line. Originating with the Slave-holders, and sustained by the Slave-holders, this compact was sacredly respected by ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 4, February, 1858 • Various

... half an hour the sensorial power becomes restored, and if no pain, or irritation producing pain, recurs, the fit of epilepsy ceases; if the pain recurs, or the irritation, which used to produce it, a new fit of convulsion takes place, and is succeeded again by a syncope. See Epilepsy, ...
— Zoonomia, Vol. II - Or, the Laws of Organic Life • Erasmus Darwin

... folding-doors into the dining-room and announced dinner, she was about to move on, when she suddenly stopped, and said, with a faint smile, 'Will you give me your arm?' Very simple words, and commonplace too, but enough to throw Atlee's whole nature into a convulsion of delight. And as he walked at her side it was in the very ...
— Lord Kilgobbin • Charles Lever

... had been looking up he would have seen the convulsion of pain on his son's face, and got some inkling of ...
— The Side Of The Angels - A Novel • Basil King

... his gross insinuation regarding his friend's edition de luxe of Through Africa by Daylight; Mary, the maid, who greatly admired the Idiot, not so much for his idiocy as for the aristocratic manner in which he carried himself, and the truly striking striped shirts he wore, left the room in a convulsion of laughter that so alarmed the cook below-stairs that the next platterful of cakes were more like tin plates than cakes; and as for Mrs. Smithers, that worthy woman was speechless with wrath. But she was not paralyzed apparently, for reaching down into her pocket she brought ...
— Coffee and Repartee • John Kendrick Bangs

... the spirit, or with the seriousness of purpose, which the crisis deserved. Meanwhile, at the close of the period, when this question had scarcely been finally decided, the Revolution broke out in France. In the terror of that convulsion, when Christianity itself was for the first time deposed in France, and none knew how widely the outbreak would extend, or what would be the bound of such insurrection against laws human and divine, the unity of a common Christianity could ...
— The English Church in the Eighteenth Century • Charles J. Abbey and John H. Overton

... any which the world now witnesses. The geologist deals in such sublime conceptions as a world of molten matter, tossed into waves by violent efforts of escaping vapors, cooling, cracking, and rending, in dire convulsion. He then ceases to discuss the changes and formation of worlds, and condescends to inform us how to fertilize our soil, where to look for coal and iron, copper, tin, cobalt, lead, and where we need not look for ...
— Continental Monthly , Vol. 6, No. 1, July, 1864 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy. • Various

... Braddock was astounding. Signs of a great convulsion revealed themselves in his face. His lips were parted and drawn as if in pain; his eyes were half closed, screening the emotion that groped behind the lids. It was the face, the figure of a man mightily shaken by ...
— The Rose in the Ring • George Barr McCutcheon

... the morning Herbert uttered a piercing cry. He seemed to be torn by a supreme convulsion. Neb, who was near him, terrified, ran into the next room where his companions ...
— The Secret of the Island • W.H.G. Kingston (translation from Jules Verne)

... some convulsion of nature had ripped the earth apart, and they crept back to the main cavern and ...
— The Bradys Beyond Their Depth - The Great Swamp Mystery • Anonymous

... became suddenly and without intermediary convinced of the continuation of the life and the presence of the Master: all this would have been no sensuous miracle—no break in the course of Nature. But we have to bear in mind how times of strong religious agitation and [p.192] convulsion are so little qualified to judge concerning external phenomena, and how easily a psychic state solidifies into a supposed percept! Within and without Christianity there are numerous examples of the sensuous ...
— An Interpretation of Rudolf Eucken's Philosophy • W. Tudor Jones

... consider you to be, you'll take a humorous view of my frankness. At present I adapt myself to a rough atmosphere of coarseness and lustiness, in which nothing coarse or lusty I could do would produce the slightest ripple of a convulsion: but I have my store of a cultivated mind and cheap editions of the classics, my little secret fount of Castaly to drink from whenever I so please. On the other hand, when I had the honour of being responsible for your education, I adapted myself to a hot-house atmosphere ...
— The Rough Road • William John Locke

... soon at the camp, and a glance told him that he was now indeed alone. Baxter, wounded to death, was lying on the ground in his last agony, and as Eyre raised his faithful companion, then in the convulsion of death, the frightful and appalling truth burst upon him in ...
— The History of Australian Exploration from 1788 to 1888 • Ernest Favenc

... from end to end of the ship. Beyond the headland a great gap was visible a quarter of a mile wide, as if the cliffs had been rent in sunder by some tremendous convulsion, and a fiord was seen stretching away in the bosom of the hills as far as the eye could reach. The Dragon's head was turned, and soon she was flying before the wind up the inlet. A mile farther and the fiord widened to a lake some two miles across between steep ...
— The Dragon and the Raven - or, The Days of King Alfred • G. A. Henty

... gave it a picturesque, castellated effect, for, unlike the general run of the country, the Elk Tooth seemed to have a backbone of rock that shot forth southeastward from the southern limit of the beautiful Big Horn range; and, in two or three places, during some prehistoric convulsion of nature, it had crushed itself out of shape and forced upward a mass of gleaming rock that even in the course of centuries had not been overgrown with grass. "Elk teeth" the Indians had called these odd projections, and one of them, the ...
— A Daughter of the Sioux - A Tale of the Indian frontier • Charles King

... alone, And pale, and pacing to and fro; anon He sat him down, and seized a pen, and traced Words which I could not guess of: then he leaned His bowed head on his hands, and shook as 'twere With a convulsion—then arose again, And with his teeth and quivering hands did tear What he had written, but he shed no tears. And he did calm himself, and fix his brow Into a kind of quiet: as he paused, The lady of ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 7 • Various

... from his bed, and by the assistance of his attendants walked across the chamber. Soon after he was seized with a violent convulsion, ...
— Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Air • Joseph Priestley

... of Chicova and amongst sandstone rocks, similar to those which prevail between Lupata and Kebrabasa. In the latter gorge, as already mentioned, igneous and syenitic masses have been acted on by some great fiery convulsion of nature; the strata are thrown into a huddled heap of confusion. The coal has of course disappeared in Kebrabasa, but is found again in Chicova. Tette grey sandstone is common about Sinjere, ...
— A Popular Account of Dr. Livingstone's Expedition to the Zambesi and Its Tributaries • David Livingstone

... was the spirit of the time that brought about these things. . . . A thousand Atlantic Cables and Pacific Railroads would not have contributed cause for so earnest self-gratulation as was afforded by this one feature in our recent political convulsion."* ...
— Sidney Lanier • Edwin Mims

... endangering all around, like a maelstrom. The actual process was merely a subsidence so calm and gentle that a child might have stood upon the deck till it sank beneath him, and then might have floated away. Instead of a convulsion, it was something stately and very pathetic to the imagination. The bark remained almost level, the bows a little higher than the stern; and her breath appeared to be surrendered in a series of pulsations, as if ...
— Oldport Days • Thomas Wentworth Higginson

... voice rang out like a trumpet. "The baby is not dead. It is in a convulsion. Give it to me and run back to your apartment and bring me ...
— Revelations of a Wife - The Story of a Honeymoon • Adele Garrison

... many races to the northward which we consider as Caffre races. You may have observed, in the history of the world, that the migrations of the human race are generally from the north to the south: so it appears to have been in Africa. Some convulsion among the northern tribes, probably a pressure from excessive population, had driven the Zoolus to the southward, and they came down like an inundation, sweeping before them all the tribes that fell in their ...
— The Mission • Frederick Marryat

... this complimentary statement of north-country men to my father, when I was a very small boy, and I learnt by experience many years afterwards that it was true. Life aboard some of the packet ships was a chronic convulsion of devilry. The majority of the men constituting the crew were termed "packet rats," and were the scrapings of British and foreign scoundrelism. No wonder the captains were anxious to have a proportion of fine, able-bodied north-country sailors, as a steadying influence on ...
— Windjammers and Sea Tramps • Walter Runciman

... and the rest were astonishing their fellow-citizens with their divine performances. The roads from Lyons, Poictiers, Dijon, and Paris were well known, and frequently trodden by both artists and merchants as well as by soldiers. The Renaissance, therefore, was no sudden convulsion. Perhaps a very careful examination of some of our Burgundian MSS. might reveal the presence of notions derived from Italian travel, for it is in the details of ornament that we find the traces ...
— Illuminated Manuscripts • John W. Bradley

... papers,' says Coulton, vaguely, 'the cause of death was disease of the heart.' A brief 'convulsion' is distinctly mentioned, whence Coulton concludes that the disease was NOT cardiac. On December 7, Mason writes to Walpole from York: 'Suppose Lord Lyttelton had recovered the ...
— The Valet's Tragedy and Other Stories • Andrew Lang

... was heard upon the road and then upon the pavement by the lawn; but most horrible of all was the fall and sighing of the animal, which seemed to drop all at once at the door of the middle tower. A convulsion like that which a thunderbolt might produce shook the spectators when Laurence, the trailing of whose riding-habit announced her coming, entered the room. The servants hastily formed into two lines to ...
— An Historical Mystery • Honore de Balzac

... when it falls from the lips of those who are patriotic, and known to the country, and known all over the world for their political services. Secession! Peaceable secession! Sir, your eyes and mine are never destined to see that miracle. The dismemberment of this vast country without convulsion! The breaking up of the fountains of the great deep without ruffling the surface! Who is so foolish—I beg everybody's pardon—as to expect to see any such thing? Sir, he who sees these States, now revolving in harmony around a common centre, and expects to see them quit their places and ...
— American Eloquence, Volume II. (of 4) - Studies In American Political History (1896) • Various

... not always happy when it shuts Its ears against the plodder's ifs and buts, Hoping in one rash leap to snatch the event. The coursers of the sun, whose hoofs of flame Consume morn's misty threshold, are exact As bankers' clerks, and all this star-poised frame, One swerve allowed, were with convulsion rackt; This world were doomed, should Dulness fail, to tame Wit's feathered heels in the stern ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell • James Lowell

... came rather late, for the girl's face was already wrinkling up for another nervous convulsion that seemed stronger than ...
— The New Forest Spy • George Manville Fenn

... but a tiny cell, originally formed by two portions of marly rock fallen together in some ancient convulsion or dropped upon each other from a floating iceberg. In some former age the cleft had been a lair of wild beasts, or the couch of some hairy savage hammering flint arrowheads for the chase, and drawing with a sharp point upon polished bone the yet hairier mammoth he ...
— The Black Douglas • S. R. Crockett

... without a word. Stepping to the body he looked a moment, then sank into the chair Weldon had occupied during his interview, fitted his gloves into his top hat, dropped it beside him, and with an extraordinary convulsion of countenance buried his face in his hands. After a moment's annoyed contemplation of his motionless figure, Weldon met Dupont's eyes inquiringly. The brother-in-law shook his head, no wiser, evidently. Weldon gestured imperiously toward the fat man, and Dupont tiptoed over to ...
— The Strange Cases of Dr. Stanchon • Josephine Daskam Bacon

... with its puny compulsion Can summon the spirit that quickens the lyre; It comes, if at all, like the Sibyl's convulsion And touches the brain with a finger ...
— The Poetical Works of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Complete • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

... sense of stability and continuance, which such a moment of happiness, though it carries every element of change in it, almost invariably brings. It felt as if it might go on for ever, and yet the very sentiment that inspired it made separation and convulsion inevitable—one of those strange paradoxes which ...
— Phoebe, Junior • Mrs [Margaret] Oliphant

... tell you. There are rumours of conspiracy. The order of things established by Lucius Sylla has excited the disgust of the people, and of a large party of the nobles. Some violent convulsion is expected." ...
— The Miscellaneous Writings and Speeches of Lord Macaulay, Vol. 1 (of 4) - Contibutions to Knight's Quarterly Magazine] • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... as he sank back he gave a sharp cry. He had practised that cry in more than one cabin, and along with it a convulsion of his features to emphasize the ...
— Back to God's Country and Other Stories • James Oliver Curwood

... emotions so easily called into activity give rise to tears. Too weak for wholesome restraint, she yields. The little convulsive act we call crying brings uncontrollable, or what seems to her to be uncontrollable, twitching of the face. The jaw and hands get rigid, and she has a hysterical convulsion, and is on the way to worse perils. The intelligent despotism of self-control is at an end, and every new attack upon its normal prerogatives leaves her less and less able ...
— Doctor and Patient • S. Weir Mitchell

... and at that moment his face looked as if he had become suddenly insane. An involuntary epileptic convulsion shook his limbs. He fell from the bed, but sprang at the same instant to his feet again, flung himself like an angry lion upon Henry, caught him by the throat, and cried with the ...
— The Nameless Castle • Maurus Jokai

... the muscles of the arms and body that the gun, during the act of aiming, shall be held without restraint and during the operation of firing shall not be deflected from the target by any convulsion or improper movement of the trigger finger or of the body, arms or hands. These drills must be taken daily, if they are to be of the maximum benefit. If you are enthusiastic about rifle shooting, and these drills are not give[C] to you, ask your company commander to show them to you, as ...
— The Plattsburg Manual - A Handbook for Military Training • O.O. Ellis and E.B. Garey

... extremity of the ridge, the peaks were plainly visible, among which were some of the springs of the Nebraska or Platte river. Around us, the whole scene had one main, striking feature, which was that of terrible convulsion. Parallel to its length, the ridge was split into chasms and fissures; between which rose the thin lofty walls, terminated with slender minarets and columns. According to the barometer, the little crest of the wall on ...
— The Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, Oregon and California • Brevet Col. J.C. Fremont

... never had extreme views about Turkey. Had I the settling of the affair, I should be disposed to keep the Turks in Constantinople, and not to let Home Rule when freely and honestly given mean total severance. But the materials of convulsion are, I fear, slowly gathering in that quarter, and Russia, shut out from her just claim to the passage of the Straits, means to have the mastery of them. I always grieve over the feud of Hellene and ...
— The Life of the Rt. Hon. Sir Charles W. Dilke, Vol. 2 • Stephen Gwynn

... removed the gag from the old man's jaws, choking back, at the same moment, with pitiless hands, the cry which rose to his lips. Then he bent over, so that the bulk of him hid from the moonlight his victim and his work. There was a single glint of steel, a convulsion of the thin figure on the ground; a faint click, and a choked and gurgling cry, instantly suppressed. Then Nicanor cleaned his blade by driving it thrice deep into the soft ground, and stood up; and Marcus rolled over and ...
— Nicanor - Teller of Tales - A Story of Roman Britain • C. Bryson Taylor

... after some hesitation, rushed into the glade, leaped toward the fire, leaped back again, pawed and trampled the earth in a terrible convulsion of rage, and then sprang away, crashing through the forest. They heard the beat of his hoofs a long time, and when the sound ceased they returned and resumed their seats by ...
— The Hunters of the Hills • Joseph Altsheler

... constituting a bed of cemented conglomerate rocks, appearing at various places along the river. Here they are scattered along the shores, and through the bed of the river, wearing the character of convulsion, which forms the impressive and prominent feature of the river ...
— The Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, Oregon and California • Brevet Col. J.C. Fremont

... ever experienced. The boat was a slow one but the time never once seemed long. Indeed, as they approached their destination, she found herself wishing that the Western Continent might, by some convulsion of nature, be removed, quite safely, an indefinite number of leagues farther, or that they might make a detour by way of the antipodes, anything rather than bring the voyage ...
— The Land of Promise • D. Torbett

... may have shown 'the will to believe' in an unusual degree; but, for me, the interest of Mrs. Piper is purely anthropological. She exhibits a survival or recrudescence of savage phenomena, real or feigned, of convulsion and of secondary personality, and entertains a ...
— The Making of Religion • Andrew Lang

... to quit his native region because he prefers his natural elements to glory, I knew but few persons at Marseilles. I wished to make no acquaintances and sought isolation and leisure, leisure and study. I wrote the history of one revolution, without a suspicion that the spirit of another convulsion looked over my shoulder, hurrying me from the half finished page, to participate not with the pen, but manually, in another of the great ...
— International Weekly Miscellany, Vol. 1, No. 5, July 29, 1850 • Various

... faithful training, and children's corresponding obedience. The Russian people would thus have, gradually, that measure of liberty they could bear, under the one-man power,—and then, in other forms, as they might be qualified to realize them. This development would be without convulsion,—as the parent gives place, while the children are passing from the lower to their higher life. It would be the exemplification of Carlyle's illustration of the snake. He says, A people should change their government only as a snake sheds his skin: ...
— Slavery Ordained of God • Rev. Fred. A. Ross, D.D.

... calling his inner name, and he began forthwith to call her own as they stood there clinging to one another, mingling arms and hair and lips in such a tumult of passion that it seemed as though all this outer convulsion of the world was a small matter compared to the commotion in their own hearts, revolutionized by the influx of a divine love that sought to melt ...
— The Human Chord • Algernon Blackwood

... administration, faith in and the will to secure the future of man, a great yes to everything entering into the imperium Romanum and palpable to all the senses, a grand style that was beyond mere art, but had become reality, truth, life....—All overwhelmed in a night, but not by a convulsion of nature! Not trampled to death by Teutons and others of heavy hoof! But brought to shame by crafty, sneaking, invisible, anaemic vampires! Not conquered,—only sucked dry!... Hidden vengefulness, petty envy, became master! Everything wretched, ...
— The Antichrist • F. W. Nietzsche

... the brainless Robert Redmayne, brought his niece to spend her school holiday with him and I discovered in the seventeen-year-old schoolgirl a magnificent and pagan simplicity of mind, combined with a Greek loveliness of body that created in me a convulsion. From the day that we met, from the hour that I heard her laugh at her uncle's objection to mixed bathing, I was as one possessed; and my triumphant joy may be judged, though never measured, when I perceived that Jenny recognized in me the complement and precious ...
— The Red Redmaynes • Eden Phillpotts

... bonis good men beget good children; the rule held even in the geological period; good ichthyosauri begat good ichthyosauri, and would to our discomfort have gone on doing so to the present time, had not better creatures been begetting better things than ichthyosauri, or famine, or fire, or convulsion put an end to them. Good apes begat good apes, and at last when human intelligence stole like a late spring upon the mimicry of our semi- simious ancestry, the creature learnt how he could, of his own forethought, add extra-corporaneous limbs ...
— The Note-Books of Samuel Butler • Samuel Butler



Words linked to "Convulsion" :   flutter, trouble, to-do, attack, hoo-hah, ictus, disruption, upheaval, fit, hurly burly, kerfuffle, hoo-ha, disturbance, seizure, commotion, raptus, clonus, epileptic seizure, convulse



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