tonic spasm


noun Medicine/Medical.

See under spasm(def 1).

Nearby words

  1. tonic contraction,
  2. tonic convulsion,
  3. tonic epilepsy,
  4. tonic pupil,
  5. tonic sol-fa,
  6. tonicity,
  7. tonicoclonic,
  8. tonify,
  9. tonight,
  10. tonite

Origin of tonic spasm

First recorded in 1825–35


[ spaz-uhm ]
/ ˈspæz əm /


Pathology. a sudden, abnormal, involuntary muscular contraction, consisting of a continued muscular contraction (tonic spasm) or of a series of alternating muscular contractions and relaxations (clonic spasm).
any sudden, brief spell of great energy, activity, feeling, etc.

Origin of spasm

1350–1400; Middle English spasme < Latin spasmus < Greek spasmós convulsion, derivative of spân to draw a sword or cord, wrench (off), convulse

SYNONYMS FOR spasm Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for tonic spasm


/ (ˈspæzəm) /


an involuntary muscular contraction, esp one resulting in cramp or convulsion
a sudden burst of activity, emotion, etc

Word Origin for spasm

C14: from Latin spasmus, from Greek spasmos a cramp, from span to tear

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 tonic spasm
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for tonic spasm


[ spăzəm ]


A sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles.
A muscle spasm.


A continuous involuntary muscular contraction.entasia

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.