Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[tuh-nez-muh s, -nes-] /təˈnɛz məs, -ˈnɛs-/
noun, Pathology.
a straining to urinate or defecate, without the ability to do so.
Origin of tenesmus
1520-30; < Medieval Latin, variant of Latin tēnesmos < Greek teinesmós, equivalent to teín(ein) to stretch + -esmos noun suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for tenesmus
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for tenesmus


/tɪˈnɛzməs; -ˈnɛs-/
(pathol) an ineffective painful straining to empty the bowels in response to the sensation of a desire to defecate, without producing a significant quantity of faeces
Derived Forms
tenesmic, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin, from Latin tēnesmos, from Greek teinesmos, from teinein to strain
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for tenesmus

1520s, from Latin tenesmos, from Greek tenesmos "straining," from teinein "to stretch" (see tenet).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
tenesmus in Medicine

tenesmus te·nes·mus (tə-něz'məs)
A painful spasm of the anal sphincter accompanied by an urgent desire to evacuate the bowel or bladder and involuntary straining that results in the passing of little or no matter.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for tenesmus

Word Value for tenesmus

Scrabble Words With Friends