Etymology of Paralysis
<classical Latin paralysis loss of the ability to move a part of the body, as a result of disease of, or injury to, a part of the nervous system < Hellenistic Greek παράλυσις < ancient Greek παραλύειν to loose, detach, disable, enfeeble, frequently in passive, to be paralysed ( < παρα-para-prefix1 + λύειν to loose: see lysisn.) + -σις-sissuffix.

In forms paralisin, paralisyn, paralisim, paralisis,paralysis, and paralices in Old English and early Middle English after the Latin accusative singular paralisim, paralisin(Hellenistic Greek παράλυσιν); compare Old French paralisin (c1190).

Etymology of Palsy
Anglo-Norman parleisie (1212 or earlier), parlesie, parlesi, palesie , palasie (13th cent.; also, reflecting the Latin accusative form, palazin , palazine , palasin , palaisin ), variants of paralisieparalysien

Etymology of Paralytic
< Anglo-Norman paralitik, paralatike and Middle French paralytique, adjective and noun (c1256 in Old French as paralitike; French paralytique ) < classical Latin paralyticus (noun) a person affected by paralysis, in post-classical Latin also (adjective) afflicted with paralysis (from 7th or 8th cent. in British sources), characterized by paralysis (12th cent. in a British source) < Hellenistic Greek παραλυτικός affected by paralysis (New Testament) < ancient Greek παραλύειν to disable, enfeeble (see paralysis n.) + -τικός, suffix forming adjectives from verbs.

Definitions of Paralysis
From the Oxford English Dictionary

  1. Loss of the use of one or more muscles, or a part or parts of the body, esp. as a result of neurological injury or disease; an instance of this. Also: loss of any of various other types of physiological function, esp. that of a nerve (now rare).
  2. fig. An influence which destroys or seriously impairs activity or sensibility; a condition of incapacity or powerlessness, esp. brought about by terror or other extreme emotion.
  3. A person affected by palsy (n.); affected with palsy, palsied (adj.)

From the Middle English Dictionary

  1. Loss or impairment of motion, feeling, or function in a part or parts of the human body; paralysis; also, palsy.
  2. The failure of a part of the body to function properly; loss of motor power, paralysis; loss of tactile sensation; numbness; impairment or loss of the power of speech; bodili ~, physical paralysis (as opposed to spiritual paralysis, i.e., sin); cold ~ [cp. cold adj. 7. (g)]; men of strong ~, men greatly afflicted with paralysis; ~ of the reines, kidney failure; particuler ~, paralysis of one member; universel ~, ~ universel, paralysis of a side of the body;
  3. in (the) ~, with paralysis; having paralysis, paralyzed;
  4. an attack of palsy, a paralysis; gret ~, a severe paralysis;
  5. a shaking, quaking;
  6. ~ ivel (pine), paralysis; ~ men, paralytics.

Definitions of Palsy
From the Oxford English Dictionary

  1. Paralysis or paresis (weakness) of all or part of the body, sometimes with tremor; an instance of this. In earlier use, freq. with the. Now chiefly with distinguishing word.
  2. An influence which destroys or seriously impairs activity or sensibility; a condition of incapacity or powerlessness, esp. brought about by terror or other extreme emotion.

Definitions of Paralytic
From the Oxford English Dictionary

  1. Affected by or suffering from paralysis

From the Middle English Dictionary

  1. Of persons or parts of the body: afflicted with paralysis; also, palsied.
  2. As noun: (a) a person or part of the body afflicted with paralysis or palsy; (b) the disease of paralysis or palsy.

Related terms
crypel, lame, crookid


The word ‘paralysis’ enters English in early Old English from the Latin paralysis, and it remains the primary word for a loss of the ability to move parts of one’s body until the first appearance of ‘palsy’ in 1250 (see Occurrences). ‘Palsy’ can be traced to the Anglo-Norman parleisie, parlesie, parlesi, palesie, palasie, butsome scholars, such as Ishtla Singh, attribute the change to English’s tendency to drop ‘r’s before sibilants (The History of English 153), and the record suggests that ‘palsy’ replaces ‘paralysis’ in usage during the thirteenth century. It appears to be the primary word used in the Wycliffite and King James versions of the Bible (see Biblical Occurrences), where corresponding passages in Old English prefer the word ‘crypel.’ As ‘palsy’ becomes more dominant during the Middle English period, ‘paralysis’ wanes in popularity until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when it begins to regain prominence. In 1398, ‘paralytic’ first appears, and in 1425, ‘paralyze’ first occurs.

Evidence and Images

Biblical Occurrences

Lindisfarne Rushworth West Saxon Wycliffe KJV
Matthew 4:23-25 7 ymbeade hœlend alle lgalilea aerde in somnungum hiora bodade godspell rices hœlde all unhœlo 7 all untrymnisse in folee et geeade t gesprang mersung his in alle syria 7 gebrohtun him alle ða yfle hœfdon mð monigfald unhœlo 7 mð fiondgeldu t mðcostungum begetna t fnumena 7 ða diobles hœfdon 7 brœcsée 7 eorð cryplas 7 geboeta hea 7 gefylgdon hine ðreate moniga of galilea 7 of ðœr byrig 7 of Judea 7 of bihonda Jordanen 7 Hœlend geondeade alle Galilea lœrende in heora synagogü t somnungü 7 bodende godspelles rice 7 hœlde œghƿilce adle 7 œghƿilce untrymnisse in þœm folce 7 eode his hlisa in alle Syria 7 him brohtun aile yfelhœbende 7 missenlicü adlum et tintergu gefongune 7 þa þe dioful hœfdun 7 monsekae 7 loman 7 he gehœlde þa 7 him fylgendun monige mœngu of Galilea t of Decapoli 7 of Hierosolimis t of Jadea t of londe begeonda Jordane. And þa beferde se Hœlend ealle Galileam, lœrende on hyra gesomnungum ; and he wœs bodiende godspel þœs rices, and hœlende œlce adle and œlce untrumnysse on þam folce. And ða ferde hys hllsa into ealle Syriam; and hl brohton him ealle yfel hœbbende missenllcum adlum and on tintregum gegripene, and þa ðe deofelseocnyssa hœfdon, and monoðseoce, and laman, and he ða gehœlde. And him fyligdon mycele menigu fram Galilea, and fram Decapoli, and fram Hierusalem, and fram Iudea, and fram begeondan Iordanen. And Jhesus yede aboute al Galilee, techynge in the synagogis of hem, and prechynge the gospel of the kyngdom, and heelynge euery languor and eche sekenesse among the puple. And his fame wente in to al Sirie; and thei brouyten to hym alle that weren at male ese, and that weren take with dyuerse languores and turmentis, and hem that hadden feendis, and lunatike men, and men in palesy, and he heelide hem. And ther sueden hym myche puple of Galile, and of Decapoli, and of Jerusalem, and of Judee, and of biyende Jordan. And Iesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their Synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdome, and healing all maner of sickenesse, and all maner of disease among the people. And his fame went thorowout all Syria: and they brought vnto him all sicke people that were taken with diuerse diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with deuils, and those which were lunaticke, and those that had the palsie, and he healed them. And there followed him great great multitudes of people, from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Hierusalem, and from Iudea, and from beyond Iordane.
Matthew 8:5-7 miðð uutetlice inneade t ïnfoerde ða burug geneolecade t tocuom to him ðe centur t hunrtraðes monna blaferd gebœd hine 7 cuocððus driht enœht min liges in hus eorð cryppel 7 mið yfle is gecunned t gecosted. cueð to him se hœlend ic cymo 7 gemo hine. œft’ þas þa he þa eòde Cafarnaum cuom to him — biddende hine 7
eƿeþende drihten cneht min ligeþin huse loma 7 is yfle pœlid 7 cƿeþ to him se hœlend ic cume 7 gehœle hine
5. Sōðīlce þā se Hǣlend in ēode on Capharnaum, þa genēalǣhte hym ān hundredes ealdor, hyne biddende, 6. and þus cweðende, Drihten, mīn cnapa lið on mīnum hūse, lama and mid yfle geðrēad. 7. Da cwaeð sē Hǣlend tō him, Ic cume and hyne gehǣle. 5 And whanne he hadde entrid in to Cafarnaum, `the centurien neiyede to him, and preiede him, 6 and seide, Lord, my childe lijth in the hous sijk on the palesie, and is yuel turmentid. 7 And Jhesus seide to him, Y schal come, and schal heele him. And when Iesus was entred into Capernaum, there came vnto him a Centurion, beseeching him,6 And saying, Lord, my seruant lieth at home sicke of the palsie, grieuously tormented.7 And Iesus saith vnto him, I will come, and heale him.
Matthew 9:1-3 7 gestag in scipp oferfoerde 7 cuom in byrig his 7 heonu gebrohtun him eorð crypel liccende in bére 7 gesaeh ðe hœlend geleafa hiora t ðara cueððaem eorð crypple getrioƿue t gelef là sunu f’gefen biðon t sie f’gefen ðœ synno ðina 7 heonu sum oðer fro uðuutum cuedon bituih him ðes ebalsas. 7 astigende on scipe oferlaþþone sœe
cƿom 7 in cœstre his 7 henu brohtun him loma licende in bedde 7 geseende Hœlend leafa hiora eƿœþ to þœ loma getreoƿe sunu þe sindun forletne synnae þine. 7 henu sume þara bocera eƿedun in innan heô þęs he falsaþ
I. Da āstāh he on scyp, and oferseglode, and cōm on his ceastre. 1. Da brōhton hig hym ǣnne laman, on bedde licgende ; þā geseah sē Hǣlend hyra gelǣfan, and cwæð tō þam laman, L ā bearn, gelyfe ; þe þeoþðlne synna forgyfene. 3. Da cwǣdon hig sume þā bōceras him betwynan, Des spycðbysmorsprǣce. 1 And Jhesus wente vp in to a boot, and passide ouer the watir, and cam in to his citee. 2 And lo! thei brouyten to hym a man sike in palesie, liggynge in a bed. And Jhesus saw the feith of hem, and seide to the man sike in palesye, Sone, haue thou trist; thi synnes ben foryouun to thee. 3 And lo! summe of the scribis seiden withynne hem silf, This blasfemeth. 1 And hee entred into a ship, and passed ouer, and came into his owne citie.
2 And behold, they brought to him a man sicke of the palsie, lying on a bed: and Iesus seeing their faith, said vnto the sicke of the palsie, Sonne, be of good cheere, thy sinnes be forgiuen thee.
3 And behold, certaine of the Scribes said within themselues, This man blasphemeth.
Matthew 9:5-7 huœt is eaður cuoeða f’gefen biðon ðe synna t cueða aris 7 geong t gaa t gie gepitte soðlice f’ðon sunu monnes hæfes mæht in eoðo f’gefnisse t to f’gefanne synna ða cueððaem eorð crypple aris geuim béro ðinne t geong in hus ðin 7 arás 7 eade in hus his hƿeþer is eþre to eƿeþane sindun forletnae þe þe to geceƿeþanne aris 7 gá [6] þæt ge pite þonne þætte sunu monnes hæfeþ mæhte on eorðan to forletenne synne þa eƿæþ to þǣ loman aris 7 genim þedd þin 7 gá in hus bin 7 he aras 7 eode in hus his 5. Hwaet is ēaþlīcre tō cweðenne, Þē beoið for gyfene þine synna, oððe tō cweþanne, Ārīs, and gā ? 6. Þæt gē sōþlīce witon þæt mannes Sunu haefðanweald on eorþan synna to forgyfenne, — þā cwæð hē to þam laman, — Ārīs, and nym þln bedd, and gang on þīn hūs. 7. And hē ārās, and fērde to hys hūse. 5 What is liytere to seye, Thi synnes ben foryouun to thee, ethir `to seie, Rise thou, and walke? 6 But that ye wite that mannus sone hath power to foryyue synnes in erthe, thanne he seide to the sijk man in palesie, Rise vp; take thi bed, and go in to thin hous. 7 And he roos, and wente in to his hous. 5 For whether is easier to say, Thy sinnes be forgiuen thee: or to say, Arise, and walke?
6 But that yee may know that the sonne of man hath power on earth to forgiue sinnes, (Then saith hee to the sicke of the palsie) Arise, take vp thy bed, and goe vnto thine house.
7 And he arose, and departed to his house.
Mark 2:3-12 7 cuomon ferende t brengende to him ðone eorðcrypel seðe from feoƿrum ƿaes geboren 7 miððy ne mæhte gebrenga hine him fore meingo genacedon t unðehton 7 hus ðer pæs 7 geopuadon adune sendon 7 bér on ðæm se eorðcrypel læg t licgendeþæs miððy gsæh ðonne se hæt geleafo hiora t ðara cuveð ðæm eorðcrypel sunu biðon forgefen ðe synna peron uūt ðer sume of uðuutum sittende 7 ðencendo t smeande in heartum hiora hƿaet ðæs suæ; spreces ebolsas hua mæg forgeafa t forleta synna nymðe an God ofðon t miððy soua ongætt t ononeop se hæt gast his ƿte suæsmeadon t ðohton bituih him cueð to him hƿæt ðas smeað gie in hearta hiurum hƿæt is eaður to coeðanne ðæm eorðcryple biðqn forgefen ðe synna t cuoeða arîs 7 nim t ber ber ðin 7 gầa ƿte put pūtaððaette mæht he haefde sunu monnes on eorðu forgefuise synna cuoeððaem eorðciyple aris nim bér ðin 7 gáa in hus ðim 7 sona he aras underlæt ber eode before allum suæƿte ofƿundredon alle 7 porðedun God cuoeðende f ‘ðon næfra ðus t spæ gesegon. 7 comon to ferende t to bringende to him þone eorðcrypel seðe from feoƿerum ƿæs geboren 7 miðþy hi ne mæhtun gebringen hine him form engo genacadun t unnreogon tþ hus t þa bere þære þe eorð crypel let t ingende ƿæm eorð crypele sunu forgefen beoþan ðe synne þine pæron ƿittudlice þær sume of uþƿutum sittende 7 ðencende t smeande in heortum heortu hƿæt þæs ðus t sƿa sprecaþ sprecaþheofolsað hƿa mæg f’geogan t f’letan synne nymþeane God of þon sona onget se hælend tst his þte þohton t smeadon betƿih heom cƿæþ to heom hƿæt þas ge þencaþ in heortum eoƿrum. Hƿæt is eþre t eaþur to cƿeþanne þæ eorð cryple forgefan beoþunþe synne þine oþðe cƿeþan aris7 nim t ber bere þine 7 gagaa þæt ƿutuðƿitaþge þæt he mæhte hæfeð sunu monnes on eorþa f’gefnisse synne cƿæþ toþæ eorðcrypleðe ic sægce aris 7 nim bere þine 7 gaa to huse þinum 7 instyde he aras 7underleat bere eode beforan allum spa þte ofpundradun alle 7 þa ƿor þadun God cƿeþende þte hia næfre þus t sƿilc ne gesegun And hi comon anne laman to him berende, þone feower men bæron. And þa hi ne mihton hine in bringan for þære mænigu, hi openodon þone hrofþar se Hǣlend wæs ; and hi þa in asendan þæt bed pe se lama on Iæg. Sōðīlce ða se Haelend geseah heora geleafan, he cwæðto þam laman, Sunu,þe synt þune synna forgyfene. par wæron sume of ðam bocerum sittende, and on heora heortum þencende, Hwī spycðþes þus ? he dysegað; hwa mæg synna forgyfan buton God ana ? Da se Haslend þæt on his gaste oncneow,þæt hi swa betwux him þohton, he cwaeð to him, Hwīðence ge þas ðing on eowrum heortan ? Hwaeðer is eðre to secgenne to þam laman, Þe synd ðlne synna forgyfene ; hwæðerþe cweðan, Aris, nim ðln bed, and ga ? past ge Sōðīlce witon þæt mannes Sunu hæfðanweald on eorðan synna to forgyfanne,— he cwæð to þam laman, — Þe ic secge, Aris, nim ðrin bed, and ga to þlnum huse. And he sona aras, and beforan him eallum eode, swa þæt ealle wundredon,and þus cwiedon, Næfre we ier þyllic ne gesawon. And it was herd, that he was in an hous, and many camen to gidir, so that thei miyten not be in the hous, ne at the yate. And he spak to hem the word. And there camen to hym men that brouyten a man sijk in palesie, which was borun of foure. And whanne thei myyten not brynge hym to Jhesu for the puple, thei vnhileden the roof where he was, and openede it, and thei leten doun the bed in which the sijk man in palesie laye. And whanne Jhesus hadde seyn the feith of hem, he seide to the sijk man in palesie, Sone, thi synnes ben foryouun to thee. But there weren summe of the scribis sittynge, and thenkynge in her hertis, What spekith he thus? He blasfemeth; who may foryyue synnes, but God aloone? And whanne Jhesus hadde knowe this bi the Hooli Goost, that thei thouyten so with ynne hem silf, he seith to hem, What thenken ye these thingis in youre hertis? What is liyter to seie to the sijk man in palesie, Synnes ben foryouun to thee, or to seie, Ryse, take thi bed, and walke? But that ye wite that mannus sone hath power in erthe to foryyue synnes, he seide to the sijk man in palesie, Y seie to thee, ryse vp, take thi bed, and go in to thin hous. And anoon he roos vp, and whanne he hadde take the bed, he wente bifor alle men, so that alle men wondriden, and onoureden God, and seiden, For we seien neuer so. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no roome to receiue them, no not so much as about the doore: and he preached the word vnto them. And they come vnto him, bringing one sicke of the palsie, which was borne of foure. And when they could not come nigh vnto him for preasse, they vncouered the roofe where he was: and when they had broken it vp, they let downe the bed wherin the sick of the palsie lay.5 When Iesus saw their faith, hee said vnto the sicke of the palsie, Sonne, thy sinnes be forgiuen thee.6 But there were certaine of the Scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doeth this man thus speake blasphemies? Who can forgiue sinnes but God onely? And immediatly, when Iesus perceiued in his Spirit, that they so reasoned within themselues, he said vnto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sicke of the palsie, Thy sinnes be forgiuen thee: or to say, Arise, and take vp thy bed and walke? But that yee may know that the Sonne of man hath power on earth to forgiue sinnes, (Hee saith to the sicke of the palsie,)
I say vnto thee, Arise, & take vp thy bed, & goe thy way into thine house. And immediatly he arose, tooke vp the bed, and went foorth before them all, insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, Wee neuer saw it on this fashion
Luke 5:17-19 7 geƿorden ƿæs on an ðara dagana 7 he gesaett lærende 7 ƿoeron ða ælaruas t aldeuuto sittendo 7 æs laruas ðaðe cuomon fró eghuelc oeastre Galit 7 Hiẽ 7 mægem ƿæs Drihtes to hæleune hia 7 heono ƿaeras berende on bed t on bér monno seðe pæs eorðcrypel 7 sohton hine gebrenge 7 gesette fä hine 7 ne gemoeton ofhuælcü dæl hine gebrohton fẽ ðæm foloe astigon of t onufa hus ðerh patla 7 duna sendon hine mið bed in middum fẽ Hæt 17 And it was don in oon of the daies, he sat, and tauyte; and there weren Farisees sittynge, and doctouris of the lawe, that camen of eche castel of Galilee, and of Judee, and of Jerusalem; and the vertu of the Lord was to heele sike men. 18 And lo! men beren in a bed a man that was sijk in the palsye, and thei souyten to bere hym in, and sette bifor hym. 19 And thei founden not in what partie thei schulden bere hym in, for the puple, `and thei wenten on the roof, and bi the sclattis thei leeten hym doun with the bed, in to the myddil, bifor Jhesus. 17 And it came to passe on a certaine day, as hee was teaching, that there were Pharisees and Doctours of the Law sitting by, which were come out of euery towne of Galilee, and Iudea, and Hierusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heale them.
18 ¶ And behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsie: and they sought meanes to bring him in, and to lay him before him.
19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in, because of the multitude, they went vpon the house top, & let him downe through the tiling with his couch, into the midst before Iesus.
Luke 5:23-25 huoeðer is eaðor gecuoaeða forgefen biðon ðe synna t cuoeða aris 7 gaa tƿ ðon ge pitte tƿ sunu monnes mæht hafeð on eorðo fgeafa synna cuoeð aris 7 nim bed ðin 7 gaa in hus ðin 7 feorde in hus his gemiclade God. 22 And as Jhesus knewe the thouytis of hem, he answeride, and seide to hem, What thenken ye yuele thingis in youre hertes? 23 What is liyter to seie, Synnes ben foryouun to thee, or to seie, Rise vp, and walke? 24 But that ye wite, that mannus sone hath power in erthe to foryyue synnes, he seide to the sijk man in palesie, Y seie to thee, ryse vp, take thi bed, and go in to thin hous. 25 And anoon he roos vp bifor hem, and took the bed in which he lay, and wente in to his hous, and magnyfiede God. 23 Whether is easier to say, Thy sinnes be forgiuen thee: or to say, Rise vp and walke?
24 But that ye may know that the Sonne of man hath power vpon earth to forgiue sinnes (he said vnto the sicke of the palsie,) I say vnto thee, Arise, and take vp thy couch, and go into thine house.
25 And immediatly he rose vp before them, and tooke vp that whereon hee lay, and departed to his owne house, glorifying God.
Acts 8:6-8 6 And the puple yaf tent to thes thingis that weren seid of Filip, with o wille herynge and seynge the signes that he dide. 7 For manye of hem that hadden vnclene spirits, crieden with a greet vois, and wenten out. 8 And manye sijk in the palsi, and crokid, weren heelid. 9 Therfor greet ioye was maad in that citee. But there was a man in that citee, whos name was Symount, a witche, that hadde disseyued the folc of Samarie, seiynge, that him silf was sum greet man. 6 And the people with one accord gaue heed vnto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
7 For vncleane spirits, crying with lowd voyce, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
8 And there was great ioy in that citie.
Acts 9:32-34 32 And it bifelde, that Petre, the while he passide aboute alle, cam to the hooli men that dwelliden at Lidde. 33 And he foond a man, Eneas bi name, that fro eiyte yeer he hadde leie `in bed; and he was sijk in palsy. 34 And Petre seide to hym, Eneas, the Lord Jhesu Crist heele thee; rise thou, and araye thee. And anoon he roos. 32 ¶ And it came to passe, as Peter passed thorowout all quarters, he came downe also to the Saints, which dwelt at Lydda.
33 And there he found a certaine man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight yeeres, and was sicke of the palsie.
34 And Peter said vnto him, Aeneas, Iesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.

Other Occurences

ÆCHom II, 42 B1.2.46 [0098 (316.178)]
[0097 (316.176)] Eft rehte Gregorius oðre bysne be sumere mynecyne. Romula gehaten. seo wæs swiðe geðyldig. and þearle gehyrsum. singan on gebedum. and swigan lufode; [0098 (316.178)] Hire becom æt nextan seo coðu þe læcas hatað paralisin. and heo læg manega gear alefed on micclum geðylde; [0099 (316.180)] Witodlice hire lima lyre hire becom to eacnunge haligra mægna. for ðan ðe heo hi gebysgode mid gebedum þæs ðe swiðor þe heo nan ðing elles don ne mihte;
ÆLS (Peter’s Chair) B1.3.11 [0080 (234)]
[0079 (232)] We sceoldan secgan be þære snoteran Petronellan, þæs eadigan
Petres dehter, ac us bearn þis on mod. [0080 (234)] Se foresæda Marcellus
<sæde> þæt heo læge on paralisin swa swa Petrus sylf wolde. [0081 (236)] Þa
axode Titus þone eadigan apostol, hwi he geþafode þæt heo swa lage on þam
legerbedde, þonne he oðre alefede ealle gehælde, and heo ana læg swa.
ÆLS (Martin) B1.3.30 [0117 (487)]
[0116 (484)] Swa micele mihte he hæfde menn to gehælenne, þæt nan adlig man naht eaðe him to ne com, þæt he ne wurde sona wundorlice gehæled. [0117 (487)] On Treueris wæs sum mæden swiðlice geuntrumod licgende on paralisin, oððæt hire lima ealle wurdon adeadode, and heo unwene læg. [0118 (490)] Þa wearþ gecydd þam fæder þæt Martinus come þa into þære byrig, and he arn to þam halgan and gesohte his fet mid swyðlicum wope, biddende þone bisceop þæt he hi bletsode.
ÆGl B1.9.2 [0404 (304.19)]
[0403 (304.19)] <paraclytus> frofergast. [0404 (304.19)] paraliticus bedreda oððe se ðe paralisin hæfð. [0405 (305.1)] leprosus hreoflic oððe licðrowere.
Lch II (1 Head) B21. [0067 (59.1)]
[0066 (58.1)] Læcedomas to wen sealfe & to wen bylum. [0067 (59.1)] Læcedomas wið paralisin þæt is on englisc lyftadl & wiþ neurisne þry. [0068 (60.1)] Læcedomas wið bryne & sealfa, VIII ealra.
CorpGl 2 (Hessels) D4.2 [5803 (14.127)]
[0066 (58.1)] Læcedomas to wen sealfe & to wen bylum. [0067 (59.1)] Læcedomas wið paralisin þæt is on englisc lyftadl & wiþ neurisne þry. [0068 (60.1)] Læcedomas wið bryne & sealfa, VIII ealra.

ÆLS (Swithun) B1.3.22 [0049 (178)]
[0048 (172)] Mid þam þe hit dagode and man drihtnes lofsang ongan, þa feollan ða fotcopsas færlice hire fram, and heo arn to cyrcan to þam arwurðan halgan gebundenum handum swa swa se halga wolde, and se hlaford com æfter and alysde hire handa, and gefreode hi sona for Swyðunes wurðmynte. [0049 (178)] Sum þegn læg alefed lange on paralisyn, and ne mihte of his bedde for manegum gearum. [0050 (180)] Þa cwæð he þæt he wolde to wynceastre syðian huru on his horsbære, and biddan his hæle.
ÆLS (Maccabees) B1.3.25 [0180 (722)]
[0179 (715)] Israhela folc þa anmodlice geceas Ionatham his broþor, biddende þæt he wære heora heafod and heretoga wið þa hæþenan þeoda; and he feng ða to ealdordome, swa swa hi ealle bædon, and werode hi manega gear wið þone onwinnendan here, and wiþ Bachidem feaht, þe his broþor ofsloh, and þær sige gefor, and ofsloh þær an þusend. [0180 (722)] Þa wolde Alchimus se arleasa sacerd, tobrecan Godes templ mid teonfullum graman; ac hine sloh God sona mid swyðlicum paralisyn, swa þæt he dumb wæs, and to deaðe gebroht, and mid mycclum tintregum his teonfullan gast of ðam lichaman forlet to langsumum witum. [0181 (728)] Ionathas wunode on wurðmynte ða lange, and cynegas hine wurðodon mid wordum and gifum, and he sige geferde on manegum gefeohtum, and æfre wæs winnende embe Godes willan, and eac his lif forlet for his leode ware.
ÆLS (Oswald) B1.3.26 [0054 (213)]
[0053 (212)] Se ridda þa ferde forð on his weg þider he gemynt hæfde. [0054 (213)] Þa wæs þær an mæden licgende on paralisyn lange gebrocod; He began þa to gereccenne hu him on rade getimode, and mann ferode þæt mæden to þære foresædan stowe. [0055 (217)] Heo wearð ða on slæpe and sona eft awoc ansund eallum limum fram þam egeslican broce; band þa hire heafod and bliðe ham ferde, gangænde on fotum swa heo gefyrn ær ne dyde.

ÆHomM 6 (Irv 1) B1.5.6 [0031 (102)]
[0030 (99)] Crist cwæð to þam kynge: Far ðe nu on ðine wæg, þin sune leofæð, and his sune wearð swa from his seocnysse hal. [0031 (102)] Sum hundredes aldor com to þam Hælende hwilon on oðre stowe, and cwæð ðus to him þa: Eala, ðu leofe Drihten, min cnapæ lið æt ham al on paralisim, and he yfele þrowæð. [0032 (106)] Ðe Hælend him cwæð to: Ic cume me sylf to him, and ic hine hæle.

Lch I (Herb) B21.1.1.2 [0374 (30.5)]
[0373 (30.4)] Butan frecnesse hit afeormað wundurlice ðone innoð. [0374 (30.5)] Wið sidan sare þæt Grecas paralisis nemnað genim þas ylcan wyrte swa grene mid wyrttrumum, cnuca hy, syle drincan on wine twegen scenceas oððe ðry. [0375 (30.5)] Hyt is gelyfed þæt heo wundurlice fremige.

Bede 4 B9.6.6 [0767 (32.378.22)]
[0766 (32.378.19)] Ða he ða eft ham hwearf, þa wearð he semninga on middum þæm siðfæte mid hefigre aðle gehrinen & gestonden, swa þæt he hreas & feoll on eorðan & long fæc forðheald licgende wæs; & þa æt nehstan hwon aras. [0767 (32.378.22)] Þa he arisende wæs, þa gefelde he his lichoman healfne dæl from þæm heafde oð þa fet mid þa aðle geslægene beon, þe Grecas nemnað paralysis, & we cweðað lyftadl; & he mid þy mæstan gewinne mid his crycce hine wreðigende ham becom. [0768 (32.378.26)] Weox seo adl sticcemælum, & sona on ðære ilcan niht hefigre gefremed wæs, swa ðæt, ða dæg com, þæt he uneaðe þurh hine sylfne ariisan oþþe gan mihte.

LkHeadGl (Li) C21.8 [0018 (17)]
[0017 (16)] Leproso mundato multi uirtute domini curantur infirmi hreaf wæs geclænsed monigo mið mægne drihtnes gegemed woeron untrymigio. [0018 (17)] Paralyticum nudato tecto dimissum ante se et a peccatis et a paralysi curat ðone eorðcrypel miððy gehreafad wæs hus forleton before him & from synnum & from crypelnise gemeð gehæleð. [0019 (18)] Leui qui et mattheus de teloneo uocatur murmurantes de publicanorum conuiuio uel de ieiunio athibita sponsi et uestimenti ac uini noui comparatione redarguit leui seðe & matheus of teloneo geced is hia lycedon of bærsynnigra gebearscip of fæstern forbodeno ðæm brydgum æc woedes & wines niwes mið ceping becuoeð.

(a1398) * Trev. Barth.(Add 27944)
83a/b: Palsye [L paralysis] is an hurtinge of a partye of mannes body wiþ wiþdrawinge & wiþ priuacioun of meuynge or of felynge oþer of boþe.
1525 tr. H. von Brunschwig Noble Experyence Vertuous Handy Warke Surg.
lxii. sig. Ojv/1: Paralisis of the handes.

a1400(c1300) NHom.(1) Gosp.(Phys-E)
p.127: A mihti gume..praied crist that he suld hele His sergant of parlesye.
a1400(a1325) Cursor (Vsp A.3)
19048: Beside þe wai þar sagh þai lij A man was criplid in þe parlesi [Trin-C: palesy; Ld: palsy].
a1425(?c1375) NHom.(3) Leg.(Hrl 4196)
102/402: With a man þai met in hy Þat had bene lang in parlesy.
?a1425 *Chauliac(1) (NY 12)
57a/a: By spasme vnderstondeþ Aueroys decurtacioun..for in it is noȝt take a way
operacioun, as is in paralisy [Ch.(2): pallesye; L paralisi], bot þer is mutacioun.
?a1425 *Chauliac(1) (NY 12)
58a/a: Paralisy forsoþ is mollifying of neruez with priuacioun of feling &
?a1425 *Chauliac(3) (Htrn 95)
56b/a: Sekenesses..ben manye, as enpostumes, woundes, dislocaciouns, fractures, þat is to seien, breking off þe bones, and þe perlesye.
?a1425 *Chauliac(3) (Htrn 95)
56b/b: Ȝiff þes members fallen in to a paralisie [*Ch.(1): paralisez], þe remedies
owen to be leide aboute þe spondiles off þe necke, for þe nerues haue her begynnynge in þat place.
c1440 Thrn.Med.Bk.(Thrn)
66 marg.: For þe paralisi.
a1450(1412) Hoccl. RP (Hrl 4866)
1108: Vp he rysith, foot and hand tremblyng, As þat assailed hym þe parlesye.
?a1450 Macer (Stockh Med.10.91)
166: Hit confermyth and stablyssheþ hem þat quaken for þe palesye or paralysye.
c1450 Alph.Tales (Add 25719)
164/2: Ilk man or womman þat..war in þe parlesie, or a crepyll, he sulde hafe of
þaim a peny.
c1450 Alph.Tales (Add 25719)
267/10: All his lyfe-tyme he lay alway in þe peralysye, þat he neuer rase oute of
his bed, nor neuer put his hand vnto his mowthe, nor neuer myght turn hym.
?c1450 St.Cuth.(Eg 3309)
4003: A man in paralisy here see; Thurgh cuthbert shone heelyd was he.
(a1464) Capgr. Chron.(Cmb Gg.4.12)
161: He was let blede for the agu whech he had; and that blod last smet him in
?c1475 *Cath.Angl.(Add 15562)
92b: Þe parlsy: paralisis; paraliticus: qui patitur illam infirmitatem.
a1500(?a1425) Lambeth SSecr.(Lamb 501)
76/19: Whoso, his wombe full, knowys a woman, lightly he rynnys yn-to perlesy.
a1500(c1477) Norton OAlch.(Add 10302)
2076: A lewde man..Tastyd of the white stone a parte..wherbi the wreche was
sodenly Smytt in a stronge paralisie.
a1500 Conq.Irel.(Rwl B.490)
45/14: God wroght..voundyrfull the blynd to se, the lame to
gone..Paralyse to festnen, ydropesye and al othyr maner sekenes to hele.

a1500(?c1425) Spec.Sacer.(Add 36791)
207/27: And here synagoge was i-fillyd with palsye men, blynde, dombe, and
deue to be helyd.
1526 R. Whitford tr. Martiloge (1893)
14 : He heled ye blynde & defe, lepres & palseys.

a1425 Wycl.Serm.(Bod 788)
2.195: Senewis of many men weren confortid for to move, and paralasie was put

c1425 Arderne Fistula (Sln 6)
96/15: It is gode for al maner goute and for þe parallesy.

(a1464) Capgr. Chron.(Cmb Gg.4.12)
240: John Wiclef, the orgon of the devel, the enmy of the Cherch, the confusion of the rithful dome of God, was smet with a horibil paralsie thorw oute his body.
a1425 HBk.GDei (Arun 507)
139: Idelnes smitis a man as he ware in paralsi [vr. parlesy], & makis his lymes
drie þat he mai noght wirke.

c1450 Siege Jerus.(1) (Add 31042)
123: Ten lasares at a luke he leched at enys, Thase þat pynede ware in parilsye
[vr. palseye].

c1440 Thrn.Med.Bk.(Thrn)
34 marg.: For þe parlsy.
?c1475 *Cath.Angl.(Add 15562)
92b: Þe parlsy: paralisis; paraliticus: qui patitur illam infirmitatem.

?c1425 Chauliac(2) (Paris angl.25)
53/24: In þe pallesyes [*Ch.(1): peralisez] of thise membres þe remedies schal be
applied aboute þe spondiles of þe nekke, for fro ham þe synowes beþ drawen oute.
c1450 Capgr. Rome (Bod 423)
100: Þis romula fel in to greuous siknesse swech as þei clepe þe peralise, whech
encresed up on hir þat sche lost all þe use of hir membris.
c1450 Capgr. Rome (Bod 423)
100: Þis romula fel in to greuous siknesse swech as þei clepe þe peralise, whech
encresed up on hir þat sche lost all þe use of hir membris.
?a1475(?a1425) Higd.(2) (Hrl 2261)
4.339: Criste did heale a man hauenge the peralisy.

c1250 Louerd asse þu ard (Trin-C B.14.39)
237: To rome eft he was brout; he was in perlesie.

c1300 SLeg.Jas.(LdMisc 108)
118: Ane Man he helde of þe palasie.
c1300 SLeg.Cross (LdMisc 108)
514: Four men of strongue palasie heore hele huy hadden riȝt þere.
(?1387) Wimbledon Serm.(Corp-C 357)
101/638: Oþer siknesses..comeþ to sum men, but not to alle, as lepre, palesie [vr.
palisye], feuere..and manye oþere.
(a1398) * Trev. Barth.(Add 27944)
83a/b: Palsye [L paralysis] is an hurtinge of a partye of mannes body wiþ
wiþdrawinge & wiþ priuacioun of meuynge or of felynge oþer of boþe.
(a1398) * Trev. Barth.(Add 27944)
83b/a: Som palesye is vnyuersele & som partyculer; þe vnyuersel occupieþ þe
haluendel of þe seke man, þe particuler palesye ocupieþ one partie, as þe hond
oþer þe foot oþir þe tonge.
(a1398) * Trev. Barth.(Add 27944)
83b/a: Vniuersele palsye in alle men & namliche in olde men is vnnes curable.
(a1398) * Trev. Barth.(Add 27944)
86b/a: Þe tonge is I-greued..somtyme wiþ palsy, and þan it lesiþ wilful meuynge
& vse of spekinge.
(a1398) * Trev. Barth.(Add 27944)
222a/a: Wilde Cucurbita..helpiþ moche þe stomak and guttis and palsy of þe
(a1398) * Trev. Barth.(Add 27944)
237a/a: Þe herbe..helpeþ aȝens palesy of þe tonge.
(c1422) Hoccl. JWife (Dur-U Cosin V.3.9)
705: The tremblynge of palesie sore gan him wrynge.
a1425(c1395) WBible(2) (Roy 1.C.8)
1 Mac.9.55: His mouth was closid, and he was dissoluyd, ether maad feble, bi
palesie, nether he miȝte speke more a word.
a1425(?a1400) RRose (Htrn 409)
1098: Hol a man it koude make Of palasie and of toth-ake.
?a1425(1373) * Lelamour Macer (Sln 5)
63a: Yf one haue þe pallesy in his tonge, chew well þis erbe.
?c1425Chauliac(2) (Paris angl.25)
202/35: As þe appoplexye is softenes of al þe body, so is þe pallesye of an half
parte, somtyme forsoþe of þe riȝt side and somtyme of þe lefte side, and somtyme forsoþe of one partye, as of þe foote or of þe hande..Þe vnyuersal is of al the side, and particuler of one membre.
c1430(a1410) Love Mirror (Brsn e.9)
116: Oure lord firste forȝaf to the paletyke his synnes and after heled hym of the
bodily palesye.
a1450 Chauliac(4) (Cai 336/725)
31/29: Of palesie & ynowȝ seid aboue in her placis.
?a1450 Macer (Stockh Med.10.91)
166: Hit confermyth and stablyssheþ hem þat quaken for þe palesye or paralysye. c1450 Med.Bk.(2) (Add 33996)
183: Yt..helpep [read: helpeþ] aman of þe palesye on þe tonge; wete apece of lynen cloþ þer inne, & ley hyt on þy tonge, for þe palesye makeþ a mon sodely doumbe.
c1450 When the son (Frf 16)
43: The hote sauge a yenst the cold palesye, The colde Betyn for the frenesye
a1475 Bk.Quint.(Sln 73)
16/21: Þe palesye vniuersel comeþ of haboundaunce of viscous humouris
closynge þe metis of vertu animale, sensityue, and motyue.
?a1475 Ludus C.(Vsp D.8)
120/119: Why shake ȝe so ȝour hed? haue ȝe þe palsye?
c1484(a1475) Caritate SSecr.(Tak 38)
163/36: Wyne, qwan it is dronkyn owte of mesur..gendryth þe pallsy in þe
a1500 Mayer Nominale (Mayer)
708/32: Hec paralisis: pallsay.
c1300 SLeg.(LdMisc 108)
384/270: Sike men þare comen þicke..Museles and crokede ek and þat weren in
a1400(c1303) Mannyng HS (Hrl 1701)
11920: A lymme þat ys..smete yn pallesye..feleþ noȝte. c1400 St.Alex.(3) (LdMisc 622)
75/1111: Men þat weren in palesye..Bote hadden þere.
a1425 Wycl.Serm.(Bod 788)
2.23: Paralitikes ben þo men þat ben siike in þe palesy, þat mai not riȝtli move þer
partis for feblenesse of þer senewis.
a1500(?c1450) Florence (Cmb Ff.2.38)
1976: God had sende on hym a wrake, That in the palsye can he schake.
(a1387) Trev. Higd.(StJ-C H.1)
4.123: While Alchimius bygan to destroye Goddis hous and þe werkes of
prophetes, he was ismyte wiþ a palsy.
c1390 PPl.A(1) (Vrn)
5.61: As pale as a pelet, In a palesye [B vr. palacye] he seemede. c1400(c1378) PPl.B (LdMisc 581)
20.175: Atte laste he hitte A Fisicien with a forred hood þat he fel in a palsye.
?c1425 Chauliac(2) (Paris angl.25)
53/24: In þe pallesyes [*Ch.(1): peralisez] of thise membres þe remedies schal be
applied aboute þe spondiles of þe nekke, for fro ham þe synowes beþ drawen
a1450 (▸c1412) T. HoccleveDe Regimine Principum (Harl. 4866)
3735: A Romayn, smyten with þe pallesie.
a1450(c1433) Lydg. St.Edm.(Hrl 2278)
416/90: Hand and penne quake for verray dreed; Of which palysy, but grace be
my leche Me to directe, I not who shal me teche.
c1390(c1350) NHom.(2) PSanct.(Vrn)
92/116: Mony he heled in þat tyme þat weren in þe palesy pyne.
1532 rev.(c1385) Usk TL (Thynne:Skeat)
133/40: Me thinketh the palasy-yvel hath acomered thy wittes.


  1. … And Jesus seide, For ȝe shulde wite þat Y have power to forȝyve synne, he seide to þe man in palasie, Rys and take þi bedde anoon and go hool in to þi hous. And he aroos and wente in to his hous …
  2. • … e men and aungels offred to Crist mankynde, þat was smyten in palesie; for pro|pirte of þis yvel palasie is a sikenesse groundid in synewis of a man, þe which sinowis ben unstable to move a man as þe …

LEGENDS OF SAINTS IN MS. LAUD 108. 10 Sancta crux

  1. … A ded man a-ros fram deth to liue : and ten men þat meseles were, / And four men of strongue palasie : heore hele huy hadden riȝt þere, / And fiftene men þat blinde weren : and manie oþere a / …
  2. 15 Iames. – …ecke : and ladde him toward is dome. / Ane Man he helde of þe palasie : are heo þudere come. / Þo Iosie þis isaiȝ : merci anon he criede; / Seint I / …

c1390 PPl.A(1) (Vrn)
5.61: As pale as a pelet, In a palesye [B vr. palacye] he seemede.

(?a1439) Lydg. FP (Bod 263)
9.579: Founde was no leche..Hym to releue of his idropesie, Maad feynt & feeble
with a gret palisie.

a1325SLeg.Assump.Virg.(Corp-C 145)
186: Hi bicome ek stiue wiþ palsie þat he nemiȝte hom enes wawe.
a1425Wycl.Serm.(Bod 788)
1.46: Þere þey brouȝten him a syke man by palsie.
c1450 Spec.Chr.(2) (Hrl 6580)
126/21: God putte palsi or quakynge of hede [L tremorem capitis] vpon Kaym.
a1425Wycl.Serm.(Bod 788)
2.167: Þer weren men berynge in a bed a man þat was in þe palsie.
a1425 Dial.Reason & A.(Cmb Ii.6.39)
9/28: Seint Peter..myraculusly suffrede his dowter Pernylle to langure in a palsie.

c1450 Alph.Tales (Add 25719)
490/7: Þai all were streken with a palcie, & þai waxed so pure at þai wavurd
aboute here & þer.

c1450 Siege Jerus.(1) (Add 31042)
123: Ten lasares at a luke he leched at enys, Thase þat pynede ware in parilsye
[vr. palseye].
?a1450 Agnus Castus(Stockh 10.90)
193/12: Ȝef a man hawe þe palse in his tung, tak þis herbe and lete hym chowȝ
c1450 Burg.Practica (Rwl D.251)
227/12: For þe palsey in wat membyr so euer þat it be.
c1450 Burg.Practica (Rwl D.251)
228/24: For þe palsey þat makyt a manis hed schake.
c1475 Gregory’s Chron.(Eg 1995)
90: That same yere the Cardynalle of Inglonde was smyte with a palsey and loste
hys speche.

a1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add.)
f. 83v: Þe palesye is somtyme in þe heed..and somtyme in þe membre paralitik.
(a1398) * Trev. Barth.(Add 27944)
248b/b: Senney..helpeþ paralitike men, for it openeþ þe pores and tempereþ, consumeþ, and wasteþ þe humours þat laxeþ and smyteþ synewes togideres and bynymeþ þe palesy.
c1400 (▸?c1380) Cleanness (1920)
1095: Ȝet comen lodly to þat Lede, as lazares monye..Poysened and parlatyk and pyned in fyres.
a1400 Pep.Gosp.(Pep 2498)
37/21: So was þere a man toforne hym þat his riȝth honde was paralityk.
a1425 PPl.A(1) (UC 45:Skeat)
5.61: Peralatik [Vrn: In a palesye he seemede].
?a1425 *Chauliac(1) (NY 12)
150b/a: Signez of infrigidacioun..when þe ȝerd is short &..yuel made, when it is cold & paraletica [Ch.(2): hath þe pallesye; L paralitica] wiþoute herez.
c1460 in A. Clark Eng. Reg. Oseney Abbey (1913)
3: Of þe paralityke man lette down in hys bedde.
c1460 Love Mirror (PRO E 164/26)
3/13: Of þe paralityke man lette down in hys bedde by hys howse hyllynge.
a1475 Bk.Quint.(Sln 73)
16/27: Blessid be god, makere of kynde, þat ordeynede for þe man paralitike oure
5 essence aforseid.
a1500 (▸a1450) tr. Secreta Secret. (Ashm. 396) (1977)
60 (MED): Who deliteth with a woman the belly full, he shall be paraletik yf he
vse it moch.


Man healed of the palsy. Digital image. Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts. British Library, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2015. <>.

Historiated Initials To Terce With Scenes From The Life Of Christ, In The Egerton Bohun Psalter-Hours. Digital image. Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts. British Library, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016. <>.

Further Reading

Biggam, Carole Patricia. Blue in Old English: An Interdisciplinary Semantic Study. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi, 1997.

Damico, Helen. New Readings on Women in Old English Literature. Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1990.

English Glossary of Causes of Death and other Archaic Medical Terms. Pachyderma-Pyuria. Rudy’s List of Archaic Medical Terms, 2008.

Hecht, Alan. Polio. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2009.

McIlwain, James T. “Theory and Practice in the Anglo-Saxon Leechbooks: The Case of Paralysis.” Viator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies 39.1 (2008): vii,viii, 65-73.

Metzler, Irina. Disability in Medieval Europe. London: Routledge, 2006.

Norri, Juhani. Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary in English, 1375-1550. University of Tampere. 2011.

Victoria Baird, Ian Jones, Molly McCann, Curran McQuade, Erica Piper, Ashley Reiter, and Quintan Rossow, all of Southeastern University

Submitted By
Cameron Hunt McNabb, Southeastern University