tetanus

[tet-n-uh s]
See more synonyms for tetanus on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. Pathology. an infectious, often fatal disease caused by a specific bacterium that enters the body through wounds and characterized by respiratory paralysis and tonic spasms and rigidity of the voluntary muscles, especially those of the neck and lower jaw.Compare lockjaw.
  2. Also called tetanus bacillus. Bacteriology. the bacterium, Clostridium tetani, causing this disease.
  3. Physiology. a state of sustained contraction of a muscle during which the muscle does not relax to its initial length or tension, induced by a rapid succession of stimuli.

Origin of tetanus

1350–1400; < Latin < Greek tétanos spasm (of muscles), tetanus; replacing Middle English tetane < Latin, as above
Related formstet·a·nal, adjectivetet·a·noid, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for tetanus

trismus, tetanus

British Dictionary definitions for tetanus

tetanus

noun
  1. Also called: lockjaw an acute infectious disease in which sustained muscular spasm, contraction, and convulsion are caused by the release of exotoxins from the bacterium, Clostridium tetani : infection usually occurs through a contaminated wound
  2. physiol any tense contraction of a muscle, esp when produced by electric shocks
Derived Formstetanal, adjectivetetanoid, adjective

Word Origin for tetanus

C16: via Latin from Greek tetanos, from tetanos taut, from teinein to stretch
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 tetanus
n.

late 14c., from Latin tetanus, from Greek tetanos "muscular spasm," literally "a stretching, tension," from teinein "to stretch" (see tenet); so called because the disease is characterized by violent spasms and stiffness of muscles.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tetanus in Medicine

tetanus

[tĕtn-əs]
n.
  1. An acute, often fatal disease that is characterized by spasmodic contraction of voluntary muscles, especially one occurring in the neck and jaw, and that is caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani, which usually enters the body through an infected wound and produces a neurotoxin.lockjaw
  2. A state of continuous muscular contraction, especially when induced artificially by rapidly repeated stimuli.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

tetanus in Science

tetanus

[tĕtn-əs]
  1. An acute, often fatal infectious disease caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani, which usually enters the body through a wound and produces a toxin that affects nerve conduction. Tetanus is characterized by painful, spasmodic contractions of voluntary muscles, especially of the jaw.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

tetanus in Culture

tetanus

[(tet-n-uhs, tet-nuhs)]

An acute and infectious disease caused by the toxin produced by a kind of bacteria that enters the body through cuts or wounds; also called lockjaw. In tetanus, the muscles of the body, particularly the muscles of the jaw, contract in painful spasms. Tetanus is deadly but can be prevented through immunization (tetanus shots).

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.