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[ak-nee] /ˈæk ni/
noun, Pathology.
an inflammatory disease of the sebaceous glands, characterized by comedones and pimples, especially on the face, back, and chest, and, in severe cases, by cysts and nodules resulting in scarring.
Also called acne vulgaris
[vuhl-gair-is, -gar-] /vʌlˈgɛər ɪs, -ˈgær-/ (Show IPA)
Compare rosacea.
Origin of acne
1820-30; < New Latin < Late Greek aknás, a manuscript error for akmás, accusative plural of akmḗ facial eruption, probably to be identified with Greek akmḗ acme
Related forms
acned, adjective
Can be confused
acme, acne. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for acne
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Does the eruption in acne disappear without leaving a trace?

    Essentials of Diseases of the Skin Henry Weightman Stelwagon
  • In what respect does the pustular syphiloderm differ from acne?

    Essentials of Diseases of the Skin Henry Weightman Stelwagon
  • acne, a skin disease showing hard reddish pimples; acne rosacea, a congestion of the skin of the nose and parts adjoining.

    The Nuttall Encyclopaedia Edited by Rev. James Wood
  • The latter is frequently associated with acne (acne rosacea).

    Essentials of Diseases of the Skin Henry Weightman Stelwagon
  • All however were well nourished, and their functions, save that of the skin (five had acne and one ichthyosis) well performed.

    The Criminal Havelock Ellis
British Dictionary definitions for acne


Also called acne vulgaris. a chronic skin disease common in adolescence, involving inflammation of the sebaceous glands and characterized by pustules on the face, neck, and upper trunk See also rosacea
Word Origin
C19: New Latin, from a misreading of Greek akmē eruption on the face. See acme
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for acne

1813, from Modern Latin, from aknas, a 6c. Latin clerical misreading of Greek akmas, accusative plural of akme "point" (see acme). The "pointed" pimples are the source of the medical use.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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acne in Medicine

acne ac·ne (āk'nē)
An inflammatory disease of the sebaceous glands and hair follicles of the skin that is marked by the eruption of pimples or pustules, especially on the face.

ac'ned adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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acne in Science
An inflammatory disease of the skin in which the sebaceous glands become clogged and infected, often causing the formation of pimples, especially on the face. It is most common during adolescence, but also occurs in infants and adults.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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