: a stretching and stiffening especially of the trunk and extremities (as when fatigued and drowsy or after waking from sleep)
Did You Know?
Cat and dog owners who witness daily their pets’ methodical body stretching upon awakening might wonder if there is a word to describe their routine—and there is: pandiculation. Pandiculation (which applies to humans too) is the medical term for the stretching and stiffening of the trunk and extremities, often accompanied by yawning, to arouse the body when fatigued or drowsy. The word comes from Latin pandiculatus, the past participle of pandiculari (“to stretch oneself”), and is ultimately derived from pandere, meaning “to spread.” Pandere is also the source of expand.
“And finally pandiculation, a brain reflex action pattern similar to how a dog gets up from rest, putting his front paws out and lengthening his back as he relaxes his belly. Pandiculation can wake up the muscular system at the brain level and provide deep relaxation.” — Jennifer Nelson, Mother Nature Network, 18 Sept. 2017