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or spasmodical

[spaz-mod-ik] /spæzˈmɒd ɪk/
pertaining to or of the nature of a spasm; characterized by spasms.
resembling a spasm or spasms; sudden but brief; sporadic:
spasmodic efforts at reform.
given to or characterized by bursts of excitement.
Origin of spasmodic
1675-85; < Medieval Latin spasmodicus < Greek spasmṓd(ēs) spasmodic (derivative of spasmós spasm; see -ode1) + Latin -icus -ic
Related forms
spasmodically, adverb
antispasmodic, adjective, noun
postspasmodic, adjective
unspasmodic, adjective
unspasmodical, adjective
unspasmodically, adverb
2. occasional, intermittent, periodic, fleeting. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for spasmodic
Historical Examples
  • “You mean James,” cried his wife, with a spasmodic movement of her hand to her breast.

    Blind Policy George Manville Fenn
  • It was an element of spasmodic conscience than he saw here, and it troubled him.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • But we were coming down, gliding down on a long angle, with the engine giving a spasmodic kick.

    The Sequel George A. Taylor
  • Shocked into spasmodic action, the American jumped from barrel to ratlines.

    The Cruise of the Dry Dock T. S. Stribling
  • After Bunker Hill spasmodic declarations of independence were made here and there by local bodies.

  • It was strange that he should have slept at all, for there had been spasmodic firing all night.

    Changing Winds St. John G. Ervine
  • For the same operation it is sometimes employed in spasmodic disorders.

    The Action of Medicines in the System Frederick William Headland
  • There was something ominous about the spasmodic and stertorous breathing.

  • After which Mr Dorrit was seized with a doze for about a minute, out of which he sprang with spasmodic nimbleness.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • There is a brazen, barking, "croupy" cough in spasmodic croup.

    The Mother and Her Child William S. Sadler
British Dictionary definitions for spasmodic


taking place in sudden brief spells
of or characterized by spasms
Derived Forms
spasmodically, adverb
Word Origin
C17: New Latin, from Greek spasmosspasm
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for spasmodic

1681, from Medieval Latin spasmodicus, from Greek spasmodes "of the nature of a spasm," from spasmos (see spasm) + -odes "like."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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spasmodic in Medicine

spasmodic spas·mod·ic (spāz-mŏd'ĭk)

  1. Relating to, affected by, or having the character of a spasm; convulsive.

  2. Happening intermittently; fitful.

  3. Given to sudden outbursts of energy or of feeling; excitable.

spas·mod'i·cal·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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