1. Relating to, affected by, or having the character of a spasm; convulsive.
2. Happening intermittently; fitful: spasmodic rifle fire.
3. Given to sudden outbursts of energy or feeling; excitable.
[New Latin spasmōdicus, from Greek spasmōdēs, from spasmos, spasm; see SPASM.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.