noun[mass noun] Medicine
Spasm of the muscles causing backward arching of the head, neck, and spine, as in severe tetanus, some kinds of meningitis, and strychnine poisoning.
- The four adult members of the family were conscious but had muscle stiffness with periodic convulsive movements of the limbs and opisthotonos.
- Twenty four hours later she developed the signs and symptoms of tetanus, with increasing jaw stiffness, opisthotonos, and generalised limb spasticity.
- These include numbness and weakness of the lower extremities, opisthotonos and seizures.
Mid 17th century: via late Latin from Greek opisthotonos 'drawn backwards'.
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