- 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).
- any sudden, brief spell of great energy, activity, feeling, etc.
Origin of spasm
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for spasm
A spasm of computer trouble yesterday delayed finishing some thoughts on Mitt Romney's USA Today op-ed about social safety nets.Social Safety Nets for a Flat Earth
September 20, 2012
For three straight days, a spasm of violence has gripped Cairo, leaving 13 people dead and scores wounded.Egypt Clashes: A Revolution Hangover
May 6, 2012
Essentially, this is no more than a spasm of mindless and brutal high summer destruction.London Burns as Riots Spread
August 9, 2011
Ma nearly had a spasm, but she liked the looks of things when we had finished.Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
The spasm of fear which crosses my heart summons it to my aid.The Conquest of Fear
The eyes glowed with the fires of a man's heart in a spasm of hate.Within the Law
After a time the spasm relaxed, but her condition remained alarming.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
The spasm loosed beads of perspiration which stood cold on his forehead.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
- an involuntary muscular contraction, esp one resulting in cramp or convulsion
- a sudden burst of activity, emotion, etc
Word Origin and History for 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.
- A sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles.
- A muscle spasm.