AskDefine | Define spasmodic

Dictionary Definition

spasmodic adj
1 affected by involuntary jerky muscular contractions; resembling a spasm; "convulsive motions"; "his body made a spasmodic jerk"; "spastic movements" [syn: convulsive, spastic]
2 occurring in spells and often abruptly; "fitful bursts of energy"; "spasmodic rifle fire" [syn: fitful]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. of, or relating to a spasm; convulsive
  2. intermittent or fitful
  3. erratic

Extensive Definition

A spasm is a sudden, involuntary contraction of a muscle, a group of muscles, or a hollow organ, or a similarly sudden contraction of an orifice. It is sometimes accompanied by a sudden burst of pain, but is usually harmless and ceases after a few minutes. Spasmodic muscle contraction may also be due to a large number of medical conditions, however, including the dystonias.
By extension, a spasm is a temporary burst of energy, activity, emotion or stress/anxiety.
A subtype of spasms is colic, an episodic pain due to spasms of smooth muscle in a particular organ (e.g. the bile duct). A characteristic of colic is the sensation of having to move about, and the pain may induce nausea or vomiting if severe. Series of spasms or permanent spasms are called a spasmism.
In very severe cases, the spasm can induce muscular contractions that are more forceful than the sufferer could generate under normal circumstances. This can lead to torn tendons and ligaments.
Some argue that hysterical strength is a type of spasm induced by the brain under extreme circumstances.

See also

spasmodic in Czech: Křeč
spasmodic in German: Krampf
spasmodic in Spanish: Espasmo muscular
spasmodic in French: Spasme
spasmodic in Lithuanian: Spazmas
spasmodic in Japanese: 発作
spasmodic in Polish: Kurcz
spasmodic in Portuguese: Espasmo
spasmodic in Russian: Спазм
spasmodic in Finnish: Spasmi
spasmodic in Swedish: Spasm
spasmodic in Chinese: 抽搐

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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