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[dis-uh n-ter-ee] /ˈdɪs ənˌtɛr i/
Pathology. an infectious disease marked by inflammation and ulceration of the lower part of the bowels, with diarrhea that becomes mucous and hemorrhagic.
Origin of dysentery
1350-1400; < Medieval Latin dysenteria < Greek, equivalent to dysénter(a) bad bowels (see dys-, enteron) + -ia -ia; replacing Middle English dissenterie < Old French
Related forms
dysenteric, adjective
postdysenteric, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for dysentery


infection of the intestine with bacteria or amoebae, marked chiefly by severe diarrhoea with the passage of mucus and blood
Derived Forms
dysenteric (ˌdɪsənˈtɛrɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C14: via Latin from Greek dusenteria, from dusentera, literally: bad bowels, from dys- + enteron intestine
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 dysentery

late 14c., dissenterie, from Old French disentere (13c.), from Latin dysenteria, from Greek dysenteria, coined by Hippocrates, from dys- "bad, abnormal, difficult" (see dys-) + entera "intestines, bowels" (see inter-). Related: Dysenteric.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dysentery in Medicine

dysentery dys·en·ter·y (dĭs'ən-těr'ē)
An inflammatory disorder of the lower intestinal tract, usually caused by a bacterial, parasitic, or protozoan infection and resulting in pain, fever, and severe diarrhea, often accompanied by the passage of blood and mucus.

dys'en·ter'ic 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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dysentery in Science
A gastrointestinal disease characterized by severe, often bloody diarrhea, usually caused by infection with bacteria or parasites.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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dysentery in Culture
dysentery [(dis-uhn-ter-ee)]

A painful disease of the intestines characterized by inflammation and diarrhea. Dysentery may be caused by bacteria or viruses, or may occur as the result of infestation by an amoeba.

Note: Dysentery can be transmitted by contact with water or food that has been contaminated by human waste. Public health and sanitation procedures in developed countries, however, have largely eliminated this means of transmission.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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