Definition of tetanus in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtɛt(ə)nəs/


[mass noun]
1A bacterial disease marked by rigidity and spasms of the voluntary muscles. See also trismus.
Example sentences
  • Processed plasma is also used to help produce stronger antibodies against diseases like tetanus, hepatitis, chickenpox and rabies.
  • From October babies in the UK will be given a five-in-one vaccine to protect them against polio, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and Hib, a virus which can lead to meningitis.
  • A study in Benin failed to show that vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and polio was associated with reduced mortality from other conditions.
2 Physiology The prolonged contraction of a muscle caused by rapidly repeated stimuli.
Example sentences
  • The onset kinetics of this slow signal were slightly modified in nominally calcium-free medium, as were both the frequency and number of pulses during tetanus.
  • At 50 shocks per second, the muscle goes into the smooth, sustained contraction of tetanus.
  • As we normally use our muscles, the individual fibers go into tetanus for brief periods rather than simply undergoing single twitches.



Pronunciation: /ˈtɛt(ə)nʌɪz/
(also tetanise) verb
Example sentences
  • Additional evidence cited against an effect on the contractile proteins is the fact that the maximum force generated by cardiac tissue tetanized in ryanodine is not increased by catecholamines.
  • Therefore it is critical that all muscle cells be activated simultaneously; if not, the muscle would become functionally tetanized and stiff, and could not power cyclic contractions.
  • However, isometric contraction in intact asynchronous IFM tetanized by electrical or nerve stimulation has also been well demonstrated by other studies.


Example sentences
  • Death occurs in animals by paralysis of respiration, - but in man there seems to be a tetanoid spasm of the cardiac muscle, which is equally dangerous to life.
  • An isoquinoline alkaloid derived from the mother liquor of morphine; it causes tetanoid convulsions, with action similar to that of strychnine.
  • There has also been reported a bitter principle that acts on the central nervous system and produces tetanoid convulsions.


Late Middle English: from Latin, from Greek tetanos 'muscular spasm', from teinein 'to stretch'.

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