petit mal

A petit mal is a kind of mild type of epilepsy, or a brief seizure that characterizes this disorder. During a petit mal, the affected person loses and regains consciousness very quickly.

You can call the illness or the seizures petit mal, and it's also used as an adjective to describe the mildness of the seizures. When someone has a petit mal seizure, people around them may not even notice — the only symptom might be a blank facial expression. This is very different from grand mal seizures, which can involve the violent contracting of muscles in the body. Petit mal means "little illness" or "little evil" in French.

Definitions of petit mal

n epilepsy characterized by paroxysmal attacks of brief clouding of consciousness (and possibly other abnormalities)

“she has been suffering from petit mal since childhood”
epilepsia minor, petit mal epilepsy
Type of:
a disorder of the central nervous system characterized by loss of consciousness and convulsions

n a seizure of short duration characterized by momentary unconsciousness and local muscle spasms or twitching

“the girl was frightened by her first petit mal
epilepsia minor
Type of:
epileptic seizure
convulsions accompanied by impaired consciousness

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