• WordNet 3.6
    • n spasm (pathology) sudden constriction of a hollow organ (as a blood vessel)
    • n spasm a painful and involuntary muscular contraction
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Spasm A sudden, violent, and temporary effort or emotion; as, a spasm of repentance.
    • Spasm (Med) An involuntary and unnatural contraction of one or more muscles or muscular fibers.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n spasm Excessive muscular contraction. When this is persistent, it is called tonic spasm; when it consists of alternating contractions and relaxations, it is called clonic spasm. A spasm of one side of the body is called hemispasm; a spasm of some particular part, as one arm, or one side of the face, is called a monospasm.
    • n spasm In general, any sudden transitory movement of a convulsive character, voluntary or involuntary; an abnormally energetic action or phase of feeling; a wrenching strain or effort: as, a spasm of industry, of grief, of fright, etc.; a spasm of pain or of coughing.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Spasm spazm an irregular and violent contraction of muscular parts—involuntary even when the voluntary muscles are concerned. When persistent it is tonic spasm or cramp, catalepsy, tetanus; when the relaxations alternate with the contractions, it is clonic spasm, as in epilepsy, convulsive hysteria, chorea, &c
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  • George Steiner
    “The immense majority of human biographies are a gray transit between domestic spasm and oblivion.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. spasme, L. spasmus, Gr. , from , , to draw, to cause convulsion. Cf. Span (v. t.)
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. spasme—L. spasmus—Gr. spasmosspaein, to draw.


In literature:

Wethermill was leaning against the wall, his eyes closed, his face white and contorted with a spasm of pain.
"At the Villa Rose" by A. E. W. Mason
I'd simply be in spasms.
"The Story Of Julia Page" by Kathleen Norris
A sudden spasm of liberty gives the whole people gigantic strength.
"The Rise of the Dutch Republic, Volume I.(of III) 1555-66" by John Lothrop Motley
Again I felt the odd spasm of pain.
"The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne" by William J. Locke
When the choking spasm it cost him was over, his eyes cleared, and he could at least gasp.
"Magnum Bonum" by Charlotte M. Yonge
While she was leaning against my arm, there was a spasm, a shiver, and she was gone!
"Henrietta's Wish" by Charlotte M. Yonge
A spasm of pain passed over the judge's face.
"The Prodigal Judge" by Vaughan Kester
And, I can't tell you why, this effort not to hurt Molly's feelings made her have a perfect spasm of love for Molly.
"Understood Betsy" by Dorothy Canfield
A spasm crossed Tom's face.
"The Crisis, Complete" by Winston Churchill
A spasm of pain twitched Snass's face.
"Smoke Bellew" by Jack London

In poetry:

"I'm growing grey," I heard him say,
"And I cannot rest or sleep,
While under me the troubled sea
Lies forty spasms deep."
"The Dutiful Mariner" by Wallace Irwin
A quiv'rin' spasm slightly stirr'd
His lip an' cheek—a lang, deep sigh;
He pass'd in peace, he gaed to rest—
The Rest eternal in the sky.
"The Fever-Cloud" by Janet Hamilton
“Thy sleep shall be broken and sharp
And filled with fierce spasms and dreams,
And shadow shall haunt thee and harp
On hellish and horrible themes!
"Australia Vindex" by Henry Kendall
Erect and sublime, for one moment of time.
In the next, that wild figure they saw
(As if stung by a spasm) plunge into a chasm,
While they waited and listened in awe.
"The Hunting Of The Snark " by Lewis Carroll
And so a weighty rock she aimed
With much enthusiasm:
"Oh, lor'!" the startled gnat exclaimed,
And promptly had a spasm:
A natural proceeding this was,
Considering how close the miss was.
"The Confidant Peasant And The Maladroit Bear" by Guy Wetmore Carryl
For the mountains' hoarse greetings came hollow
From stormy wind-chasms and caves,
And I heard their wild cataracts wallow
Huge bulks in long spasms of waves,
And that Demon said, "Lo! you must follow!
And our path is o'er myriads of graves."
"Musagetes" by Madison Julius Cawein

In news:

Michael Morse feels leg spasm during home run trot.
Machete attacks cap DC spasm of violence.
Roger Bonomo, the hospital's acting chief of neurology, said people who suffer the temporary spasms "are at somewhat higher risk for strokes".
Pain, spasms and sleep quality also improved in those given drug vs placebo.
White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko was out of the lineup Thursday with back spasms.
Katie's face showed a quick spasm, a twitch , every few minutes, subtle enough that you might miss it if you weren't looking.
Receiver Plaxico Burress (back spasms) was downgraded to questionable from probable on the injury report for Sunday's game.
Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes of these involuntary wrist spasms.
Smith, who valiantly battled back spasms in Tuesday night's thrilling win over the Brooklyn Nets, is listed as probable, but will suit up and play tonight.
Smith listed as probable with back spasms, but will play.
Trufant bothered by back spasms.
I meant to present a more detailed lineup, but I was fighting back spasms and couldn't take it anymore.
Back spasms kept Jason Kidd out of the Knicks' overtime loss to the Nets in November, but he's feeling (and playing) well enough for tonight's rematch in Brooklyn .
The 39-year old point guard has been brilliant since returning from back spasms that kept him out for four games earlier this month.
Spasms of violence have erupted over the past three weeks between pro- and anti-Morsi camps and fears of more violence loomed over Egypt on the eve of the referendum.

In science:

Note that the breaking strain simulations in Sec. 4.3. used a modified version of the program SPaSM .
Neutron Star Crust and Molecular Dynamics Simulation