torticollis

noun

tor·​ti·​col·​lis ˌtȯr-tə-ˈkä-ləs How to pronounce torticollis (audio)
: an acute or chronic often painful condition characterized by involuntary intermittent or sustained contraction of the muscles of the neck (such as the sternocleidomastoid or trapezius) that causes the head to tilt or turn sideways, bend forward or backward, or jerk abnormally

Note: Torticollis may occur secondary to an injury or a preexisting condition (such as a musculoskeletal abnormality or a neurodegenerative disease) but is often of unknown cause.

called also wryneck

Examples of torticollis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have learned that babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome are more likely to have torticollis, an abnormal neck condition. Anne Saker, Cincinnati.com, 28 June 2018

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

New Latin, from Latin tortus twisted + -i- + collum neck — more at collar

First Known Use

circa 1811, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of torticollis was circa 1811

Dictionary Entries Near torticollis

Cite this Entry

“Torticollis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/torticollis. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition

torticollis

noun
tor·​ti·​col·​lis ˌtȯrt-ə-ˈkäl-əs How to pronounce torticollis (audio)
: an acute or chronic often painful condition characterized by involuntary intermittent or sustained contraction of the muscles of the neck (as the sternocleidomastoid or trapezius) that causes the head to tilt or turn sideways, bend forward or backward, or jerk abnormally

Note: Torticollis may occur secondary to injury or a preexisting condition (as musculoskeletal abnormality or neurodegenerative disease) but is often of unknown cause. When occurring in animals, torticollis may also be caused by bacterial or parasitic infection or nutritional imbalance.

called also wryneck

compare cervical dystonia

More from Merriam-Webster on torticollis

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!