tet·​a·​ny ˈte-tə-nē How to pronounce tetany (audio)
: a condition of physiological calcium imbalance marked by tonic spasm of muscles and often associated with deficient parathyroid secretion

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The horror and anguish of this bacteria is made plain in a painting from the early 1800s by the surgeon and artist Sir Charles Bell, in which the artist depicts a soldier locked tight in the throes of agonizing tetany. Rebecca Kreston, Discover Magazine, 29 Sep. 2015 The veterinarian was at the farm checking the cows for grass tetany. Michael M. Phillips, WSJ, 10 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tetany.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary, from Latin tetanus

First Known Use

circa 1885, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tetany was circa 1885

Dictionary Entries Near tetany

Cite this Entry

“Tetany.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tetany. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Medical Definition


tet·​a·​ny ˈtet-ᵊn-ē, ˈtet-nē How to pronounce tetany (audio)
plural tetanies
: a condition of physiological calcium imbalance that is marked by intermittent tonic spasm of the voluntary muscles and is associated with deficiencies of parathyroid secretion or other disturbances (as vitamin D deficiency)

More from Merriam-Webster on tetany

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!

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?