spasm

[spaz-uhm]
noun
1.
Pathology. a sudden, abnormal, involuntary muscular contraction, consisting of a continued muscular contraction (tonic spasm) or of a series of alternating muscular contractions and relaxations (clonic spasm)
2.
any sudden, brief spell of great energy, activity, feeling, etc.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English spasme < Latin spasmus < Greek spasmós convulsion, derivative of spân to draw a sword or cord, wrench (off), convulse


2. fit, storm, flash, spurt.
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World English Dictionary
spasm (ˈspæzəm)
 
n
1.  an involuntary muscular contraction, esp one resulting in cramp or convulsion
2.  a sudden burst of activity, emotion, etc
 
[C14: from Latin spasmus, from Greek spasmos a cramp, from span to tear]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

spasm
c.1400, from O.Fr. spasme, from L. spasmus "a spasm," from Gk. spasmos "a spasm, convulsion," from span "draw up, tear away, contract violently, pull," from PIE *spe- "stretch." Fig. sense of "a sudden convulsion" (of emotion, politics, etc.) is attested from 1817. The verb is recorded from 1900.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

spasm (spāz'əm)
n.

  1. A sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles.

  2. A muscle spasm.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
Coronary artery spasm is a temporary constriction of an artery in the heart.
Whenever he was stuck in a meeting, he'd grip his pen and hold it down on a
  piece of paper, waiting for the spasm to kick in.
The spasm can slow or stop blood flow through the artery.
If you have peritonitis, touching the belly area may cause a spasm of the
  muscles.
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