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[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.
Sometimes, spasmodical.
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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for spasmodic
Historical Examples
  • It was an element of spasmodic conscience than he saw here, and it troubled him.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • Shocked into spasmodic action, the American jumped from barrel to ratlines.

    The Cruise of the Dry Dock T. S. Stribling
  • It was strange that he should have slept at all, for there had been spasmodic firing all night.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • The sole shadow on his career was a spasmodic tendency to be bored. '

    A Great Man Arnold Bennett
  • But the benefit is spasmodic, discontinuous, and extremely limited.

  • Another emitted a spasmodic laugh through his chattering teeth.

    The Rescue Joseph Conrad
  • His thinking processes were sluggish and spasmodic; but suddenly the truth came to him.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
  • Her letter was supplicatory, spasmodic, full of sorrow, and full of love.

    Is He Popenjoy?

    Anthony Trollope
  • An enemy to spasms in every form, he abhors the spasmodic School of Poets.

  • This control was spasmodic, because of the fewness of the watchbirds.

    Watchbird Robert Sheckley
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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