• synonyms


See more synonyms for spasmodic on Thesaurus.com
  1. pertaining to or of the nature of a spasm; characterized by spasms.
  2. resembling a spasm or spasms; sudden but brief; sporadic: spasmodic efforts at reform.
  3. given to or characterized by bursts of excitement.
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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


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

changeable, choppy, desultory, fitful, intermittent, irregular, jerky, periodic, shaky, sporadic, spotty, uncertain, convulsive, spastic

Examples from the Web for spasmodic

Historical Examples

  • 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

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

Word Origin

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

spasmodic in Medicine


  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.
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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.