One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Spasm of the jaw muscles, causing the mouth to remain tightly closed, typically as a symptom of tetanus.Also called lockjaw
- ‘He developed jaw muscle spasm or trismus (from the word ‘grinding’ in Greek), difficulty swallowing, and stiffness or pain in the neck, shoulder and back muscles.’
- ‘The presenting symptoms include fever, throat pain, and trismus.’
- ‘Muscle tone is increased, producing the characteristic trismus, ‘risus sardonicus,’ and opisthotonus.’
- ‘Regional lymphadenopathy is common, and cellulitis and trismus (inability to open the mouth fully) can occur.’
- ‘The most common dystonias involve the muscles of the head and face producing buccal spasms, oculogyric crisis, facial grimacing, tics, or trismus.’
Late 17th century: from modern Latin, from Greek trismos ‘a scream, grinding’.
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