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 Because of the stress of the pandemic and running a business, I have been diagnosed with a condition called spasmodic dysphonia. Lisa Deaderick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "From dancer to engineer and back to dance, San Marcos mom opens dance studio to help kids love themselves," 15 Aug. 2020 Now, even as the economy begins a spasmodic reopening from coronavirus restrictions, Ms. Thomson worries that her livelihood will be undercut again, as hard times produce a shortage of riders and a glut of drivers. Eoin O'carroll, The Christian Science Monitor, "Uber and under: Why gig workers struggle in pandemic," 9 June 2020 Yet Porter lives on in such recordings of single songs more than in the spasmodic revival of shows that often need heavy rewriting to exist onstage at all. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "The Pleasure and Pain of Being Cole Porter," 13 Jan. 2020 Toby, in Burnap’s impressive, spasmodic bursts of nervous energy, loves Eric some but himself more. Peter Marks, Washington Post, "‘The Inheritance’ is epic in length, but not always in satisfaction," 18 Nov. 2019 As Arthur acquires a pistol, carries out his first spasmodic acts of violence, and feels a thrill of power run through his veins, the film rattles along a subway track that may or may not be the same one the rest of the world is riding., "Most read on," 3 Oct. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for spasmodic

Time Traveler

The first known use of spasmodic was circa 1681

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Cite this Entry

“Spasmodic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for spasmodic


How to pronounce spasmodic (audio)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on spasmodic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spasmodic

Nglish: Translation of spasmodic for Spanish Speakers

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