spas·​mod·​ic | \ spaz-ˈmä-dik How to pronounce spasmodic (audio) \

Definition of spasmodic

1a : 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

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Other Words from spasmodic

spasmodically \ spaz-​ˈmä-​di-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce spasmodically (audio) \ 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

Noise, yes, lots of it, but mostly motion as we are thrown left and right against our straps in spasmodic little jerks. William Harwood, CBS News, "50 years later, Apollo 11's "one giant leap" remains a defining moment in human history," 14 July 2019 In the Hudson and other American waters, the fishery for Atlantic sturgeon has seen spasmodic waves of depredation, particularly during a caviar craze in the late nineteenth century and then several more times in the 20th century. Andrew Revkin, National Geographic, "14-foot fish spotted in river, giving hope to vanished giant’s return," 7 Mar. 2019 When one of the furry forms tips over without breaking stride, the men burst into spasmodic giggles. Sarah Medford, WSJ, "A Furniture Collaboration That’s Irresistible," 4 Dec. 2018 With 600 Nm of instant torque on tap, the I.D. R accelerates like a Formula One car, from 0 to 62 mph in a spasmodic 2.25 seconds. Dan Neil, WSJ, "Volkswagen’s All-Electric Effort to Climb Out of Its P.R. Hole," 4 July 2018 Getting me to this spasmodic state is, of course, a troll’s sole purpose. Virginia Heffernan, WIRED, "Scrolling, Rickrolling, and Trolling," 12 Mar. 2018 As a consequence, fragmentary and spasmodic reforms have failed to reach down to the profoundest needs of the poor. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "Martin Luther King Jr. on the problem with ‘so-called educated people’," 15 Jan. 2018 The Democratic party’s 1904 platform included this rebuke: The existing Republican administration has been spasmodic, erratic, sensational, spectacular, and arbitrary. Jay Cost, National Review, "Is the Presidency Driving Us Nuts?," 8 Jan. 2018 Another possibility was spasmodic dysphonia, a condition in which spasms of the vocal cords affect speech. Manuel Roig-franzia, Washington Post, "He was the ‘Golden Throat’ of Cox Radio. Until the day he woke up and couldn’t speak.," 18 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spasmodic.' 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 spasmodic

circa 1681, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for spasmodic

New Latin spasmodicus, from Greek spasmōdēs, from spasmos

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Statistics for spasmodic

Last Updated

30 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for spasmodic

The first known use of spasmodic was circa 1681

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English Language Learners Definition of spasmodic

: relating to or caused by a spasm
: happening suddenly and briefly at different times in a way that is not regular


spas·​mod·​ic | \ spaz-ˈmä-dik How to pronounce spasmodic (audio) \

Kids Definition of spasmodic

: relating to or affected by spasm : involving spasms spasmodic jerking

Other Words from spasmodic

spasmodically \ -​di-​kə-​lē \ adverb


spas·​mod·​ic | \ spaz-ˈmäd-ik How to pronounce spasmodic (audio) \

Medical Definition of spasmodic

: of, relating to, characterized by, or resulting from spasm a spasmodic twitching a spasmodic cough

Other Words from spasmodic

spasmodically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce spasmodically (audio) \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on spasmodic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spasmodic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spasmodic

Spanish Central: Translation of spasmodic

Nglish: Translation of spasmodic for Spanish Speakers

Comments on spasmodic

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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