Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

tetanus

play
noun tet·a·nus \ˈte-tə-nəs, ˈtet-nəs\

Simple Definition of tetanus

  • medical : a dangerous disease that is caused by bacteria that usually enter the body through a cut or wound

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of tetanus

  1. 1a :  an acute infectious disease characterized by tonic spasm of voluntary muscles especially of the jaw and caused by an exotoxin of a bacterium (Clostridium tetani) which is usually introduced through a wound — compare lockjawb :  the bacterium that causes tetanus

  2. 2 :  prolonged contraction of a muscle resulting from rapidly repeated motor impulses

Origin and Etymology of tetanus

Middle English, from Latin, from Greek tetanos, from tetanos stretched, rigid; akin to Greek teinein to stretch — more at thin


First Known Use: 14th century

Other Microbiology Terms


TETANUS Defined for Kids

tetanus

play
noun tet·a·nus \ˈte-tə-nəs, ˈtet-nəs\

Definition of tetanus for Students

  1. :  a serious disease that is marked by spasms of the muscles especially of the jaws and that is caused by poison from a bacterium that usually enters the body through a wound




Medical Dictionary

tetanus

play
noun tet·a·nus \ˈtet-ən-əs, ˈtet-nəs\

Medical Definition of tetanus

  1. 1a:  an acute infectious disease characterized by tonic spasm of voluntary muscles and especially of the muscles of the jaw and caused by an exotoxin produced by a bacterium of the genus Clostridium (C. tetani) which is usually introduced through a wound—compare lockjawb:  tetanus bacillus

  2. 2:  prolonged contraction of a muscle resulting from a series of motor impulses following one another too rapidly to permit intervening relaxation of the muscle





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up tetanus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

different from the usual or normal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

accommodate acommadate acommodate accomodate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ