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 te·tan·i·cal.

Origin of tetanic

1720–30; < Latin tetanicus < Greek tetanikós, equivalent to tétan(os) spasm, tetanus + -ikos -ic
Related formste·tan·i·cal·ly, adverbpost·te·tan·ic, adjectivesub·te·tan·ic, adjectivesub·te·tan·i·cal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tetanic

Historical Examples of tetanic

  • If the tetanic spasms have not commenced, the stomach-pump ought to be used.

    Memoranda on Poisons

    Thomas Hawkes Tanner

  • I fancy, however, that their strength was rather of the tetanic than the titanic sort.

    Literature and Life

    William Dean Howells

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

  • She was an open car, capable of some eighteen miles on the flat, with tetanic gears and a perpetual palsy.

  • But he could not speak at once; his teeth closed with tetanic force upon each other.

British Dictionary definitions for tetanic



of, relating to, or producing tetanus or the spasms of tetanus


a tetanic drug or agent
Derived Formstetanically, 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

tetanic in Medicine




Of or causing tetanus or tetany.
Marked by sustained muscular contractions.


An agent that in poisonous doses produces tonic muscular spasm.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.