Par"ox*ysm (?), n. [F. paroxysme, Gr. ?, fr. ? to sharpen, irritate; para` beside, beyond + ? to sharpen, from ? sharp.] 1. (Med.) The fit, attack, or exacerbation, of a disease that occurs at intervals, or has decided remissions or intermissions. Arbuthnot.

2. Any sudden and violent emotion; spasmodic passion or action; a convulsion; a fit.

The returning paroxysms of diffidence and despair.