• adjective (behaving like or reminiscent of) a clumsy, unfortunate, feeble, foolish or unpopular individual. A schoolchildren’s vogue word in Britain from the early 1960s onwards, prompted by the publicity given to charities and other schemes to aid spastic children. The same word was used in the 1950s by adults, particularly in the armed services, and in the 1960s by schoolchildren and adolescents in the USA. The noun form is frequently shortened to ‘spas’ or spazz; the adjective altered to ‘spazzy’.