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

Other Words from spasmodic

spasmodically \ spaz-​ˈmä-​di-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce spasmodic (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 This week the passing game remained spasmodic, and West Virginia was able to shut down the running game as well. R.j. Coyle, Dallas News, 25 Sep. 2021 There is no official death toll for the era’s spasmodic violence, which continued through other groups following the Klan’s decline after federal enforcement peaked in 1872. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 11 Aug. 2021 That declaration, combined with his decision to hire four clerks for the next term (suggesting an intention to stay) sent liberals into spasmodic finger-wagging. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, 22 July 2021 In the midst of a pandemic and a recession, when the ugly words and spasmodic evil deeds and gestural politics of an unfit president have led many to despair, the country may seem wide open to every kind of change. David Bromwich, Harper's Magazine, 27 Oct. 2020 His voice—despite a longtime condition, spasmodic dysphonia, that can cause spasms in the muscles controlling his speech—was strong and clear. Ryan D'agostino, Town & Country, 19 Oct. 2020 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, 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, 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, 13 Jan. 2020

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

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The first known use of spasmodic was circa 1681

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Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spasmodic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for spasmodic



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 spasmodic (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on spasmodic

Nglish: Translation of spasmodic for Spanish Speakers


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