Apoplexy is a sudden and often fatal fit resulting from blood vessels bursting in the brain. The 19th century character Madame Bovary became a widow because of it. Today, we generally call it "a stroke," but apoplexy sounds way better.

Although apoplexy as a specific medical term is not such a common term now, the word apoplectic certainly is, meaning furious and red-faced with uncontrollable rage (so called because its symptoms of flushed red face and loss of bodily control mimic those of apoplexy). Often used humorously — apoplectic is how you might describe your parents when they see your grades — though there's nothing funny about a real apoplectic fit.

Definitions of apoplexy

n a sudden loss of consciousness resulting when the rupture or occlusion of a blood vessel leads to oxygen lack in the brain

CVA, cerebrovascular accident, stroke
ischaemic stroke, ischemic stroke
the most common kind of stroke; caused by an interruption in the flow of blood to the brain (as from a clot blocking a blood vessel)
haemorrhagic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke
stroke caused by the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain
Type of:
a sudden occurrence of an uncontrollable condition

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a life-long learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.