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  1. Pathology. inflammation of a mucous membrane, especially of the respiratory tract, accompanied by excessive secretions.

Origin of catarrh

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin catarrhus < Greek katárrous literally, down-flowing, equivalent to katarr(eîn) to flow down (kata- cata- + rheîn to flow) + -ous, variant of -eos (theme vowel + adj. suffix)
Related formsca·tarrh·al, ca·tarrh·ous, adjectiveca·tarrh·al·ly, adverbnon·ca·tar·rhal, adjectivepost·ca·tarrh·al, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for catarrhal

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for catarrhal


  1. inflammation of a mucous membrane with increased production of mucus, esp affecting the nose and throat in the common cold
  2. the mucus so formed
Derived Formscatarrhal or catarrhous, adjective

Word Origin

C16: via French from Late Latin catarrhus, from Greek katarrous, from katarrhein to flow down, from kata- down + rhein to flow
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

Word Origin and History for catarrhal



late 14c., from Medieval Latin catarrus, from Late Latin catarrhus, from Greek katarrhous "a catarrh, a head cold," literally "a flowing down," earlier kata rrhoos, ultimately from kata- "down" (see cata-) + rhein "to flow" (see rheum). Related: Catarrhalcatarrhous.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

catarrhal in Medicine


  1. Inflammation of mucous membranes, especially of the nose and throat.
Related formsca•tarrhal adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.