Word Origin & History
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.