Share this entry

opisthotonos Line breaks: opis|thot¦onos
Pronunciation: /ˌɒpɪsˈθɒt(ə)nəs/
(also opisthotonus)

Definition of opisthotonos in English:


[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.
Example sentences
  • 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'.

Definition of opisthotonos in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day luxe
Pronunciation: ləks
expensive and of high quality; luxurious