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 spas·mod·i·cal.

Origin of spasmodic

1675–85; < Medieval Latin spasmodicus < Greek spasmṓd(ēs) spasmodic (derivative of spasmós spasm; see -ode1) + Latin -icus -ic
Related formsspas·mod·i·cal·ly, adverban·ti·spas·mod·ic, adjective, nounpost·spas·mod·ic, adjectiveun·spas·mod·ic, adjectiveun·spas·mod·i·cal, adjectiveun·spas·mod·i·cal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for spasmodic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spasmodic

Historical Examples of spasmodic

  • It was an element of spasmodic conscience than he saw here, and it troubled him.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Shocked into spasmodic action, the American jumped from barrel to ratlines.

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for spasmodic


rarely spasmodical


taking place in sudden brief spells
of or characterized by spasms
Derived Formsspasmodically, adverb

Word Origin for spasmodic

C17: New Latin, from Greek spasmos spasm
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

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

spasmodic in Medicine




Relating to, affected by, or having the character of a spasm; convulsive.
Happening intermittently; fitful.
Given to sudden outbursts of energy or of feeling; excitable.
Related formsspas•modi•cal•ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.