Meaning of tetanus in English:


Pronunciation /ˈtɛt(ə)nəs/

Translate tetanus into Spanish


mass noun
  • 1A bacterial disease marked by rigidity and spasms of the voluntary muscles.

    See also trismus

    This disease is caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani; Gram-positive anaerobic rods

    ‘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.’
    • ‘Farm animals are guarded against anthrax, tetanus, and other disease by antibiotics or vaccines developed by animal based research.’
    • ‘For nearly 50 years Australian babies have been routinely vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus.’
    • ‘For several bacterial diseases, such as diphtheria and tetanus, physicians can prevent the illness by immunizing people against the microbes' toxins.’
    • ‘Many vaccines are given in childhood, but adults still need to be routinely vaccinated to prevent some illnesses, such as tetanus and influenza.’
    • ‘Her patients ranged from the poorest of the poor to the wife and daughter of a Maharaja, and she dealt with cases of tetanus, rabies, malaria, and cholera, as well as more routine medicine and surgery.’
    • ‘Use of the DTaP vaccine has virtually eliminated diphtheria and tetanus in childhood and has markedly reduced the number of pertussis cases.’
    • ‘Some bacteria, such as those that cause tetanus and diphtheria, produce powerful toxins.’
    • ‘We are equipped with antitoxin and a vaccine to prevent the disease, yet tetanus continues to be a major public health problem throughout much of the developing world.’
    • ‘In the UK, it is possible to catch the disease tetanus from a bite such as a dog bite, although this is now very rare.’
    • ‘So I dutifully checked my vaccinations were up-to-date - typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and all the rest - and resigned myself to six weeks of malaria tablets.’
    • ‘The bacteria that causes tetanus can be found in dirt, potting soil, and manure, and can enter the body through any simple wound.’
    • ‘Sometimes, the first and only sign of tetanus is a spasm of the muscles nearest to the infected wound.’
    • ‘If you haven't been vaccinated at all against tetanus and diphtheria then you do need a primary course of three doses and then followed up with two booster doses ten years apart.’
    • ‘Some vaccines, such as tetanus and pertussis, don't provide lifelong immunity.’
    • ‘As part of the preparation, everybody on the recovery team was vaccinated against diseases, such as hepatitis B and tetanus.’
    • ‘Typical immunisations for a traveller will include a booster for polio and tetanus, and immunisation against hepatitis A and typhoid.’
    • ‘A variety of treatments, from vitamins to alpha and beta adrenergic receptor blockers, have been suggested for tetanus.’
  • 2Physiology
    The prolonged contraction of a muscle caused by rapidly repeated stimuli.

    ‘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.’


Late Middle English from Latin, from Greek tetanos ‘muscular spasm’, from teinein ‘to stretch’.