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clonic spasm

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noun Medicine/Medical.
  1. See under spasm(def 1).

Origin of clonic spasm

First recorded in 1840–50


[spaz-uh m]
  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 of spasm

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


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2. fit, storm, flash, spurt.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for clonic spasm


  1. an involuntary muscular contraction, esp one resulting in cramp or convulsion
  2. a sudden burst of activity, emotion, etc

Word Origin

C14: from Latin spasmus, from Greek spasmos a cramp, from span to tear
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

Word Origin and History for clonic spasm



c.1400, from Old French spasme, from Latin spasmus "a spasm," from Greek spasmos "a spasm, convulsion," from span "draw up, tear away, contract violently, pull," from PIE *spe- "stretch." Figurative sense of "a sudden convulsion" (of emotion, politics, etc.) is attested from 1817.



1900, from spasm (n.). Related: Spasmed; spasming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

clonic spasm in Medicine


([object Object])
  1. A sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles.
  2. A muscle spasm.

clonic spasm

  1. Alternate involuntary contraction and relaxation of a muscle.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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