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1Occurring or done in brief, irregular bursts:‘spasmodic fighting continued’
intermittent, fitful, irregular, sporadic, erratic, occasional, infrequent, scattered, patchy, isolated, odd, uneven, periodic, periodical, recurring, recurrent, on and offView synonyms
- ‘The band bring abrasive but melodic rock that comes complete with spasmodic on-stage performance.’
- ‘She gives a last little spasmodic lunge and then pulls away and takes a deep breath.’
- ‘The orchestra comes to life in spasmodic bursts.’
2Caused by, subject to, or in the nature of a spasm or spasms:‘a spasmodic cough’
- ‘Right now a spasmodic tic in his leg at the wrong time could get him killed.’
- ‘she screamed, as her left hamstring muscle tightened in a spasmodic reaction.’
- ‘The shivering had died to spasmodic twitches and then even they stopped.’
- ‘The oil is topically applied to relieve spasmodic pains.’
- ‘In a letter to Emily Howland, Washington described Benson as ‘whimsical, spasmodic and rather superficial.’’
- ‘Hiccups are the spasmodic, involuntary contraction of the diaphragm that is caused by irritation of the nerves that supply these muscles.’
- ‘Her chin began a spasmodic quivering and the tears sprang into her eyes.’
Late 17th century: from modern Latin spasmodicus, from Greek spasmōdēs, from spasma (see spasm).
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