tetanus

noun

tet·​a·​nus ˈte-tə-nəs How to pronounce tetanus (audio)
ˈtet-nəs
1
a
: an acute infectious bacterial disease characterized by tonic spasm of voluntary muscles especially of the jaw and caused by an exotoxin of a clostridium (Clostridium tetani) which is usually introduced through a wound compare lockjaw
b
: the bacterium that causes tetanus
2
: prolonged contraction of a muscle resulting from rapidly repeated motor impulses

Examples of tetanus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Whooping cough is covered by a common childhood vaccination, as part of the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) or Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) shot. Alec Johnson, Journal Sentinel, 30 Apr. 2024 She was given a tetanus shot and prescribed antibiotics, the records show. Tribune News Service, Hartford Courant, 26 Apr. 2024 Then came widespread vaccination thanks to the 1962 Vaccination Assistance Act, which led to the practical eradication of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, smallpox, and measles. TIME, 8 May 2024 Though there has been some success in reducing or preventing important risk factors tied to neurological illness since 1990, such as greater vaccination coverage for certain diseases like tetanus, the authors say more can and should be done. Ed Cara / Gizmodo, Quartz, 19 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for tetanus 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tetanus.' 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

Middle English, from Latin, from Greek tetanos, from tetanos stretched, rigid; akin to Greek teinein to stretch — more at thin

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of tetanus was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near tetanus

Cite this Entry

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

Kids Definition

tetanus

noun
tet·​a·​nus ˈtet-ə-nəs How to pronounce tetanus (audio)
1
: a dangerous infectious disease marked by contraction of the muscles especially of the jaws and caused by a poison made by a bacterium that usually enters the body through a wound compare lockjaw
2
: contraction of a muscle for a much longer time than normal that results from rapidly repeated motor nerve impulses

Medical Definition

tetanus

noun
tet·​a·​nus ˈtet-ᵊn-əs, ˈtet-nəs How to pronounce tetanus (audio)
1
a
: an acute infectious disease characterized by tonic spasm of voluntary muscles and especially of the muscles of the jaw and caused by an exotoxin produced by a bacterium of the genus Clostridium (C. tetani) which is usually introduced through a wound compare lockjaw
2
: prolonged contraction of a muscle resulting from a series of motor impulses following one another too rapidly to permit intervening relaxation of the muscle

More from Merriam-Webster on tetanus

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