[ spas-tik ]
/ ˈspæs tɪk /


Pathology. pertaining to, of the nature of, or characterized by spasm, especially tonic spasm.
Slang: Offensive. awkward or clumsy.


Pathology. a person exhibiting spasms.
Slang: Offensive. an awkward or clumsy person.

Origin of spastic

1745–55; < Latin spasticus afflicted with spasms < Greek spastikós of a spasm, equivalent to spas-, stem of spân to pull off, pluck, convulse + -tikos -tic

Related forms

spas·ti·cal·ly, adverbspas·tic·i·ty [spa-stis-i-tee] /spæˈstɪs ɪ ti/, noun

Usage note

The slang use of spastic (or spaz ) to mean “clumsy” is perceived as insulting to people who are affected with muscular spasms. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for spastic


/ (ˈspæstɪk, spæsˈtɪsɪtɪ) /


an old-fashioned and now offensive name for a person who has cerebral palsy
taboo, slang a clumsy, incapable, or incompetent person


affected by or resembling spasms
taboo, slang clumsy, incapable or incompetent

Derived Forms

spastically, adverbspasticity, noun See cerebral palsy

Word Origin for spastic

C18: from Latin spasticus, from Greek spastikos, from 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

Medicine definitions for spastic


[ spăstĭk ]


Relating to or affected by spasm.
Relating to spastic paralysis.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.