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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 spasmodically
Historical Examples
  • He clutched at it spasmodically, to be sure it was still safe.

  • Sylvia drew away from Runyon, not spasmodically, but as if she were moving in her sleep.

  • For the lad caught him spasmodically by the arm with both hands.

    The Lost Middy George Manville Fenn
  • "My luck is serving me to-day," the newcomer went on spasmodically.

    The Woman in Black Edmund Clerihew Bentley
  • He extended his arm, and moved it spasmodically to encourage them.

    The Forsyte Saga, Complete John Galsworthy
  • Then she saw Margaret, smiled at her spasmodically, and yawned again.

    Fair Margaret Francis Marion Crawford
  • spasmodically, he set his fangs in a viselike tightening of his grip.

    Buff: A Collie and other dog-stories Albert Payson Terhune
  • If He is merciful at all He cannot be merciful only spasmodically, erratically, or temporarily.

  • Then spasmodically she thought of something to say which seemed more intimate.

    A Little Princess Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • spasmodically The Gray Phantom pressed the receiver closer to his ear.

    The Gray Phantom Herman Landon
British Dictionary definitions for spasmodically


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 spasmodically



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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spasmodically 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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