One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Muscle spasm or rigidity; (in later use) specifically muscle rigidity occurring in resistance to, or as failure of relaxation after, passive movement, seen especially in disorders of the cerebral cortex.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Robley Dunglison (1798–1869), physician and medical writer. From para- + -tonia. In specific use after French paratonie.
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