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From Latin spasticus, from Ancient Greek σπαστικός (spastikós, drawing in). Confer French spastique and see also spasm.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈspastɪk/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈspæstɪk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æstɪk


spastic (comparative more spastic, superlative most spastic)

  1. (pathology) Of, relating to, or affected by spasm.
  2. (pathology) Of or relating to spastic paralysis.
  3. (slang, derogatory, offensive in the UK) Clumsy.
  4. (slang, derogatory, offensive in the UK) Hyperactive, excited, and acting in a random manner.

Usage notes[edit]

See the usage notes about the noun, below.



spastic (plural spastics)

  1. (now offensive, especially in Britain) A person affected by spastic paralysis or spastic cerebral palsy.
  2. (slang, offensive especially in Britain) A stupid, clumsy person.
    • I'm Alan Partridge (TV series), To Kill a Mocking Alan
      Jed Maxwell: See you next week then. We'll have that pint.
      Alan Partridge: Yep.
      Jed Maxwell: ...go and see my brother.
      Alan Partridge: No way, you big spastic! You're a mentalist!

Usage notes[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:

The offensiveness of spastic and spaz differs considerably between the US and the UK. In the United States, the terms are inoffensive; in the UK, they are typically taken as denigrating references to those with cerebral palsy, and consequently University of Sussex linguist Lynne Murphy has described spastic as "one of the most taboo insults to a British ear"[1] and in a 2003 survey by the BBC it was voted the second-most offensive word relating to disability (after retard).[2][3]

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ Murphy, M Lynne (2007-02-28), “spastic, learning disability”, in Separated by a Common Language[1], retrieved 2007-08-17
  2. ^ “BBC worst word vote”, in (Please provide the title of the work)[2], accessed 20 March 2007, archived from the original on 20 March 2007
  3. ^ The s-word, by Damon Rose, BBC News, 12 April 2006




spastic (not comparable)

  1. spastic

Related terms[edit]