spasmodic

adjective

spas·​mod·​ic spaz-ˈmä-dik How to pronounce spasmodic (audio)
1
a
: relating to or affected or characterized by spasm
b
: resembling a spasm especially in sudden violence
a spasmodic jerk
2
: acting or proceeding fitfully : intermittent
spasmodic activity
3
: subject to outbursts of emotional excitement : excitable
spasmodically adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for spasmodic

fitful, spasmodic, convulsive mean lacking steadiness or regularity in movement.

fitful implies intermittence, a succession of starts and stops or risings and fallings.

fitful sleep

spasmodic adds to fitful the implication of rapid or violent activity alternating with inactivity.

spasmodic growth

convulsive suggests the breaking of regularity or quiet by uncontrolled movement.

convulsive shocks

Examples of spasmodic in a Sentence

He made only spasmodic attempts to lose weight. spasmodic problems that we will have to deal with as they crop up
Recent Examples on the Web Some had common themes: posture, plugged ears, the power of mind over spasmodic clenching of the diaphragm, which is basically what a hiccup is. Neal Rubin, Detroit Free Press, 25 May 2024 Ahmadinejad’s final years in office were spent battling open subversion by the rest of the establishment as well as the spasmodic crises -- hyperinflation, the currency crash, product shortages -- sparked by the sanctions regime. Suzanne Maloney, Foreign Affairs, 27 Nov. 2013 The music is a spasmodic mix of heavy metal, techno, and trap. Leila Sales, SPIN, 7 May 2024 It’s widely presumed, but is Isabelle Adjani’s famous subway scene in Possession a direct inspiration on Nell’s own spasmodic episode outside the car? Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Apr. 2024 Her voice tilts and crashes on different syllables before lifting up again, marked by the spasmodic dysphonia that accompanies a flare of multiple sclerosis. Fortesa Latifi, Glamour, 1 Nov. 2023 Mensch catalogues the spasmodic conversion of lower Manhattan during the next decade. Nicole Rudick, The New Yorker, 30 Sep. 2023 Kennedy said he was diagnosed in his 40s with spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological condition affecting the voice box that causes strained speech. Abc News, ABC News, 27 Sep. 2023 The songs of In Utero are fractured, spasmodic, wrenched out of shape — notes pulled inside out, meanings stood on their pointy little heads and spun for kicks. Howard Hampton, Spin, 21 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spasmodic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

New Latin spasmodicus, from Greek spasmōdēs, from spasmos

First Known Use

circa 1681, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of spasmodic was circa 1681

Dictionary Entries Near spasmodic

Cite this Entry

“Spasmodic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spasmodic. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

spasmodic

adjective
spas·​mod·​ic spaz-ˈmäd-ik How to pronounce spasmodic (audio)
1
a
: relating to or affected or characterized by spasm
spasmodic movements
b
: resembling a spasm especially in sudden violence
2
: acting or going now and then : intermittent
spasmodic activity
3
: subject to outburst of emotional excitement : excitable
spasmodically adverb

Medical Definition

spasmodic

adjective
spas·​mod·​ic spaz-ˈmäd-ik How to pronounce spasmodic (audio)
: of, relating to, characterized by, or resulting from spasm
a spasmodic twitching
a spasmodic cough
spasmodically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on spasmodic

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!