Definition of spasmodic in US English:



  • 1Occurring or done in brief, irregular bursts.

    ‘spasmodic fighting continued’
    • ‘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.’
    intermittent, fitful, irregular, sporadic, erratic, occasional, infrequent, scattered, patchy, isolated, odd, uneven, periodic, periodical, recurring, recurrent, on and off
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    1. 1.1 Caused by, subject to, or in the nature of a spasm or spasms.
      ‘a spasmodic cough’
      • ‘Her chin began a spasmodic quivering and the tears sprang into her eyes.’
      • ‘Hiccups are the spasmodic, involuntary contraction of the diaphragm that is caused by irritation of the nerves that supply these muscles.’
      • ‘she screamed, as her left hamstring muscle tightened in a spasmodic reaction.’
      • ‘The shivering had died to spasmodic twitches and then even they stopped.’
      • ‘In a letter to Emily Howland, Washington described Benson as ‘whimsical, spasmodic and rather superficial.’’
      • ‘The oil is topically applied to relieve spasmodic pains.’
      • ‘Right now a spasmodic tic in his leg at the wrong time could get him killed.’


Late 17th century: from modern Latin spasmodicus, from Greek spasmōdēs, from spasma (see spasm).