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[tuh-nez-muh s, -nes-] /təˈnɛz məs, -ˈnɛs-/
noun, Pathology
a straining to urinate or defecate, without the ability to do so.
1520-30; < Medieval Latin, variant of Latin tēnesmos < Greek teinesmós, equivalent to teín(ein) to stretch + -esmos noun suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for tenesmus
  • Other signs attributable to the gastrointestinal tract may include tenesmus.
British Dictionary definitions for tenesmus


/tɪˈnɛzməs; -ˈnɛs-/
(pathol) an ineffective painful straining to empty the bowels in response to the sensation of a desire to defecate, without producing a significant quantity of faeces
Derived Forms
tenesmic, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin, from Latin tēnesmos, from Greek teinesmos, from teinein to strain
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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tenesmus in Medicine

tenesmus te·nes·mus (tə-něz'məs)
A painful spasm of the anal sphincter accompanied by an urgent desire to evacuate the bowel or bladder and involuntary straining that results in the passing of little or no matter.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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