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n. pl. cat·a·plex·ies
A sudden loss of muscle tone and strength, usually caused by an extreme emotional stimulus.
[From Greek kataplēxis, fixation (of the eyes), from kataplēssein, to astound, terrify : kata-, intensive pref.; see cata- + plēssein, plēk-, to strike; see plāk- in Indo-European roots.]
cat′a·plec′tic (-plĕk′tĭk) adj.
1. (Pathology) sudden temporary paralysis, brought on by severe shock
2. (Zoology) a state of complete absence of movement assumed by animals while shamming death
[C19: from Greek kataplēxis amazement, from kataplēssein to strike down (with amazement), confound, from kata- down + plēssein to strike]
a temporary paralytic or hypnotic state, often brought on by strong emotion. — cataplectic, adj.See also: Nerves