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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for spasmodically
Historical Examples
  • As they talked only commonplaces, awkwardly and spasmodically and slowly, she rose and pressed the button of the bell.

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

  • Silently he held her hands for a few seconds, pressed them spasmodically and the next moment they were free.

    Madame Flirt Charles E. Pearce
  • For the lad caught him spasmodically by the arm with both hands.

    The Lost Middy George Manville Fenn
  • From time to time this hand clenched tightly and spasmodically into a fist, large, heavy-boned and wicked-looking.

    The Turtles of Tasman Jack London
  • "My luck is serving me to-day," the newcomer went on spasmodically.

    The Woman in Black Edmund Clerihew Bentley
  • Plants must receive care when it is needed, and this care should be given regularly, instead of spasmodically, to be effective.

    ABC of Gardening Eben Eugene Rexford
  • He extended his arm, and moved it spasmodically to encourage them.

    The Forsyte Saga, Complete John Galsworthy
  • spasmodically, he set his fangs in a viselike tightening of his grip.

    Buff: A Collie and other dog-stories Albert Payson Terhune
  • Then she saw Margaret, smiled at her spasmodically, and yawned again.

    Fair Margaret Francis Marion Crawford
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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