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[tuh-tan-ik] /təˈtæn ɪk/
Pathology. pertaining to, of the nature of, or characterized by tetanus.
Medicine/Medical. noting a medicine or poison that can cause tetanic spasms of the muscles.
Compare tetany.
Sometimes, tetanical.
Origin of tetanic
1720-30; < Latin tetanicus < Greek tetanikós, equivalent to tétan(os) spasm, tetanus + -ikos -ic
Related forms
tetanically, adverb
posttetanic, adjective
subtetanic, adjective
subtetanical, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for tetanic
Historical Examples
  • Injury of the brain causes, as in higher animals, tetanic spasms and involuntary reflex movements, followed by stupefaction.

    Animal Intelligence George J. Romanes
  • If the tetanic spasms have not commenced, the stomach-pump ought to be used.

    Memoranda on Poisons Thomas Hawkes Tanner
  • In cases where there is marked fatigue, as for instance in certain muscles, the top of the tetanic curve undergoes rapid decline.

  • The patient progressed favorably for some days, when tetanic symptoms appeared, and under these he sank.

  • It is a violent irritant of the mucous membranes and given internally it causes emesis, diarrhœa, tetanic convulsions and death.

  • There are tetanic convulsions, and death follows through asphyxia.

    Poisons: Their Effects and Detection Alexander Wynter Blyth
  • With three times the dose, the tetanic convulsions commence early, and death takes place in from two to six hours.

    Poisons: Their Effects and Detection Alexander Wynter Blyth
  • tetanic and general convulsions are produced; and the immediate cause of death is a spasm of the muscles of respiration.

    The Action of Medicines in the System Frederick William Headland
  • The tetanic stage is followed by paralysis of reflex movements and cessation of breathing, the heart continuing to beat.

    Poisons: Their Effects and Detection Alexander Wynter Blyth
  • tetanic symptoms may occur, or the muscles of the mouth and tongue becoming paralyzed may interfere with mastication.

    Barium, A Cause of the Loco-Weed Disease Albert Cornelius Crawford
British Dictionary definitions for tetanic


of, relating to, or producing tetanus or the spasms of tetanus
a tetanic drug or agent
Derived Forms
tetanically, adverb
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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tetanic in Medicine

tetanic te·tan·ic (tě-tān'ĭk)

  1. Of or causing tetanus or tetany.

  2. Marked by sustained muscular contractions.

An agent that in poisonous doses produces tonic muscular spasm.
te·tan'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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