from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A painfully urgent but ineffectual attempt to urinate or defecate.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The painful and often ineffectual straining to relieve the bowels
- n. a painfully urgent need to urinate or defecate that results in little being passed
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. An urgent and distressing sensation, as if a discharge from the intestines must take place, although none can be effected; -- always referred to the lower extremity of the rectum.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In medicine, a continual inclination to void the contents of the bowels or bladder, accompanied by straining, but with little or no discharge.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. painful spasm of the anal sphincter along with an urgent desire to defecate without the significant production of feces; associated with irritable bowel syndrome
Medieval Latin tēnesmus, variant of Latin tēnesmos, from Greek teinesmos, from teinein, to strain, stretch; see ten- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)