AskDefine | Define apoplectic

Dictionary Definition

apoplectic adj : pertaining to or characteristic of apoplexy; "apoplectic seizure"

User Contributed Dictionary



From apoplēcticus (possibly via apoplectique) from (apoplēktikos) < (apoplēktos) < (apoplēssō) < (apo) "of, from" + (plēssō) "I strike".


  • /ˌæpəˈplɛktɪk/
  • Rhymes with: -ɛktɪk


  1. Of, or relating to apoplexy.
  2. Extremely angry or furious to the point of being unable to move or speak.
  3. Effused with blood.


  • 1960 — Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, ch 11
    Once she heard Jem refer to our father as 'Atticus' and her reaction was apoplectic.
  • 2005 — (author?), The New Yorker, (page?) (12 Dec)
    "Speak of the devil—he marches through the door, and becomes apoplectic when he learns of the upheaval."

Related terms


of or relating to apoplexy
extremely angry and unable to speak
effused with blood

Extensive Definition

Apoplexy is an old-fashioned medical term, which can be used to mean 'bleeding'. It can be used non-medically to mean a state of extreme rage. The word derives from the Greek word for 'seizure', apoplixia (ἀποπληξία), in the sense of being struck down.

Neurological impairment

Apoplexy has been used as a synonym for "stroke".

Historical meaning

Historically, the word "apoplexy" was also used to describe any sudden death that began with a sudden loss of consciousness, especially one where the victim died within a matter of seconds after losing consciousness. Those reading historical documents should take into consideration the possibility that the word "apoplexy" may be used to describe the symptom of sudden loss of consciousness immediately preceding death and not an actual verified disease process. Sudden cardiac deaths, ruptured cerebral aneurysms, certain ruptured aortic aneurysms, and even heart attacks may have been described as apoplexy in the distant past.


The term 'apoplexy' is used to describe bleeding within internal organs. In such usage it is coupled with an adjective describing the site of the bleeding. For example, bleeding within the pituitary gland is called pituitary apoplexy, and bleeding within the adrenal glands can be called adrenal apoplexy.
In both pituitary and adrenal apoplexy, the word apoplexy refers to both hemorrhage with the gland and to accompanying neurological problems such as confusion, headache, and impairment of consciousness.

Non-medical usage

Colloquially, particularly in the adjective form apoplectic, apoplexy means furious, enraged, or upset to the point of being unable to deal with a situation rationally or diplomatically.


apoplectic in Danish: Apopleksi
apoplectic in German: Apoplex
apoplectic in Spanish: Apoplejía
apoplectic in French: Apoplexie
apoplectic in Korean: 뇌졸중
apoplectic in Italian: Apoplessia
apoplectic in Portuguese: Apoplexia
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