Definition: sudden outburst or intensification of something
In medicine, a “paroxysmal attack” is when someone’s previously manageable symptoms suddenly intensify, like a coughing attack, or difficulty breathing.
Why I Looked It Up
From the lede of a NY Times article about the Bloody Sunday conflict in Northern Ireland.
The events themselves took a matter of minutes to unfold in a paroxysm of one-sided gunfire that snuffed out more than a dozen lives, each one of them a new martyr in Northern Ireland’s somber annals of loss.
Added on May 18, 2022
In a discussion about Shaka Zulu who went on a rampage after his mother died:
About 7,000 Zulus were killed in the initial paroxysm of his grief…