Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
A spasm is a sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle, a group of muscles, or a hollow organ such as the heart.
A spasmodic muscle contraction may be caused by many medical conditions, including dystonia. Most commonly, it is a muscle cramp which is accompanied by a sudden burst of pain. A muscle cramp is usually harmless and ceases after a few minutes. It is typically caused by ion imbalance or muscle overload.
There are other causes of involuntary muscle contractions, and some of these may cause a health problem.
Spasm is the title of English metal band Peach's fifth release, released in 1993. It was originally released as a 2-track 7" Vinyl and is now extremely rare. This song has been covered in concert by the band Tool, who Peach's former bass player Justin Chancellor is now a part of.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Spasm \Spasm\, n. [F. spasme, L. spasmus, Gr. ?, from ?, ?, to draw, to cause convulsion. Cf. Span, v. t.]
(Med.) An involuntary and unnatural contraction of one or more muscles or muscular fibers.
Note: Spasm are usually either clonic or tonic. In clonic spasm, the muscles or muscular fibers contract and relax alternately in very quick succession. In tonic spasm, the contraction is steady and uniform, and continues for a comparatively long time, as in tetanus.
A sudden, violent, and temporary effort or emotion; as, a spasm of repentance.
Cynic spasm (Med.) See under Cynic.
Spasm of the chest. See Angina pectoris, under Angina.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
late 14c., "sudden violent muscular contraction," from Old French spasme (13c.) and directly from Latin spasmus "a spasm," from Greek spasmos "a spasm, convulsion," from span "draw up, tear away, contract violently, pull, pluck," from PIE *spe- "stretch." Figurative sense of "a sudden convulsion" (of emotion, politics, etc.) is attested from 1817.
1900, from spasm (n.). Related: Spasmed; spasming.
n. 1 A sudden, involuntary contraction of a muscle, a group of muscles, or a hollow organ. 2 A violent, excruciating seizure of pain. 3 A sudden and temporary burst of energy, activity, or emotion. vb. To produce and undergo a #Noun.
Usage examples of "spasm".
This is a powerful antispasmodic, and has been successfully used in bilious colic, nausea, and spasm of the bowels.
This is a powerful antispasmodic, and is effective in relaxing spasms of all kinds.
A spasm reached deep into his lungs, as if all his bronchia had constricted at once with a snap like a trap closing.
Some bronchitic invalid had gouged a huge blob from his lungs and, weakened by his spasm of coughing, had managed only enough force to give it a partial revolution after its impact with the floor.
I blocked my own spasms of sweating tremors by finding the microdot on Naxos among the encyclopedia cards and reading it through the viewer.
With peristaltic spasms, as of slimy, repulsive intestines, it came up to the glass, pressed against it opposite my face, and made several feeble crawling motions before becoming still.
Meanwhile, almost giddy with anticipation and precursive spasms of sensation, Melody clung on to the phone and to the wall beside her for support.
I believe your brachio radial and pronator muscles are in spasm, and they have contracted so tightly they are now wider than the gap between the bars.
The grims were forming up to ride again, leaving the protestors in a spasm of joyful destruction, uprooting benches and starting to smash in the front doors of New Mound House.
Grinspoon told him the defendant was one of thousands of people who claim that marijuana is the best thing they can find for controlling the kind of painful spasms associated with quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic nerve injury.
And Colonel Starbottle knew this, as, perspiring, florid, and panting, he rebuttoned the lower buttons of his blue frock-coat, which had become loosed in an oratorical spasm, and readjusted his old-fashioned, spotless shirt frill above it as he strutted from the court-room amidst the handshakings and acclamations of his friends.
Before they collided the conveyor driver saw the Bethlehem in his rear mirror and retroversed the tracks, the great steel cleats stabbing through the surface of the roadway, locking in a sudden spasm.
The fish flopped onto a plank, its scaleless pewter body jerking in spasms.
Sprowle raised herself, by a sort of spasm, sur son seant, as they say in France,--up on end, as we have it in New England.
Or, as Shastri had called it, a spasm, for completed cycles were always accompanied by a multitude of unvectorable changes.