\ ˈspa-zəm How to pronounce spasm (audio) \

Definition of spasm

1 : an involuntary and abnormal muscular contraction
2 : a sudden violent and temporary effort, emotion, or sensation a spasm of creativity spasms of pain

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Other Words from spasm

spasm intransitive verb

Examples of spasm in a Sentence

a disease that causes muscle spasms He was racked with coughing spasms. She was suffering spasms of guilt.
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Recent Examples on the Web

If spasmodic dysphonia is associated with MS, medications to manage spasms throughout the body, such as muscle relaxants, may also help with spasmodic dysphonia, Dr. Bermel says. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Selma Blair Reveals Her MS Led to Spasmodic Dysphonia," 27 Feb. 2019 Here's how McCann left Sunday’s 8-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays early after suffering a left intercostal spasm and was replaced by Hicks in the seventh inning. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "James McCann returning to Detroit Tigers lineup for Game 2 vs. Yankees," 4 June 2018 George Hill returned from missing the last three games because of back spasms and contributed 11 points, six rebounds, and three assists -- all in the second half. Joe Vardon,, "LeBron James, Tyronn Lue found what Cavaliers need to keep advancing in playoffs," 29 Apr. 2018 Spain is one of the few European countries that prescribes the drug for mild pain, such as toothaches or muscle spasms. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "Tourists warned to avoid common painkiller in Spain after fatalities linked to drug," 23 Apr. 2018 Among the side effects of Graves’ disease are irritability, anxiety, intolerance of heat, muscle spasms and retracted eyelids which cause the appearance of bulging eyes. Abby Jones, Billboard, "Wendy Williams Talks Graves' Disease Diagnosis on 'Good Morning America'," 19 Mar. 2018 British experts believe professionals managed to expose Skripal to Novichuk, perhaps in a pub or a restaurant or his car, leading to muscle spasms and organ failure. Trudy Rubin,, "Unless Trump backs Britain on poison case, Putin will think he's free to murder at will | Trudy Rubin," 14 Mar. 2018 His rookie season has featured plenty of highs but also four instances of back spasms and periods of shooting inconsistency or teammates not getting him enough shots. K.c. Johnson,, "Lauri Markkanen shines again as Bulls fall to Celtics," 6 Apr. 2018 Without that treatment, the children become paralyzed, go blind and deaf, suffer painful muscle spasms and ultimately lose the ability to breathe. Patricia Callahan,, "7-year-old Kenan, who helped spark a lifesaving change in state procedures, dies from Krabbe disease," 1 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spasm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of spasm

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for spasm

Middle English spasme, from Anglo-French espasme, from Latin spasmus, from Greek spasmos, from span to draw, pull

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Dictionary Entries near spasm


spar varnish




spasm band


Statistics for spasm

Last Updated

20 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spasm

The first known use of spasm was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for spasm



English Language Learners Definition of spasm

: a sudden uncontrolled and often painful tightening of a muscle
: a sudden and usually brief occurrence of something you cannot control


\ ˈspa-zəm How to pronounce spasm (audio) \

Kids Definition of spasm

1 : a sudden uncontrolled and often painful tightening of muscles back spasms
2 : a sudden, strong, and temporary effort, emotion, or outburst a spasm of coughing a spasm of guilt


\ ˈspaz-əm How to pronounce spasm (audio) \

Medical Definition of spasm

1 : an involuntary and abnormal contraction of muscle or muscle fibers or of a hollow organ (as an artery, the colon, or the esophagus) that consists largely of involuntary muscle fibers
2 : the state or condition of a muscle or organ affected with spasms the renal artery went into spasm

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More from Merriam-Webster on spasm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spasm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spasm

Spanish Central: Translation of spasm

Nglish: Translation of spasm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spasm for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spasm

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a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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