Try Our Apps


WATCH "Lumbersexual"


[el-uh-fuh n-tahy-uh-sis, -fan-] /ˌɛl ə fənˈtaɪ ə sɪs, -fæn-/
Pathology. a chronic filarial disease resulting in lymphatic obstruction, characterized by marked enlargement of the parts affected, especially of the legs and scrotum, transmitted by mosquitoes.
untoward growth or development:
bureaucratic elephantiasis.
Origin of elephantiasis
1575-85; < Latin < Greek elephantíāsis, equivalent to elephant- elephant + -iāsis -iasis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for elephantiasis
Historical Examples
  • It might be stricken with dry-rot, elephantiasis and plica polonica for ought I care.

  • You would have thought the whole ship's company was sickening for elephantiasis.

    In Eastern Seas J. J. Smith
  • No one seems really to know the cause of the South Sea elephantiasis.

  • Fee-fee he had, which is the native for elephantiasis and which is pronounced fay-fay.

  • A monk came from Alexandria, Eulogius by name, bringing with him a man afflicted with elephantiasis.

    The Hermits Charles Kingsley
  • This is the Anopheles, which "travels in" malaria and elephantiasis.

    The American Egypt Channing Arnold
  • His legs were ponderous, elephantine, since his leg-illness was of elephantiasis, or dropsy.

    How I Found Livingstone Henry M. Stanley
  • Traces of elephantiasis have been discovered among his ascendants.

    Ulysses James Joyce
  • I have hitherto said nothing to show that the disease in Scotland was of the nature of Greek elephantiasis.

    Archaeological Essays Vol. 2 James Y. Simpson
  • A sequel of chronic lymphangitis is a condition known as elephantiasis.

    Lameness of the Horse John Victor Lacroix
British Dictionary definitions for elephantiasis


(pathol) a complication of chronic filariasis, in which nematode worms block the lymphatic vessels, usually in the legs or scrotum, causing extreme enlargement of the affected area See also filariasis
Derived Forms
elephantiasic (ˌɛlɪˌfæntɪˈæsɪk; ˌɛlɪfənˈtaɪəsɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C16: via Latin from Greek, from elephaselephant + -iasis
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for elephantiasis

1580s, from Greek elephantos, genitive of elephas "elephant" (see elephant) + -iasis "pathological or morbid condition." It refers to two diseases, one characterized by thickening of a body part (E. Arabum), the other, older meaning is "disease characterized by skin resembling an elephant's" (E. Græcorum, also called Egyptian leprosy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
elephantiasis in Medicine

elephantiasis el·e·phan·ti·a·sis (ěl'ə-fən-tī'ə-sĭs)
Chronic, often extreme enlargement and hardening of cutaneous and subcutaneous tissue, especially of the legs and external genitals, resulting from lymphatic obstruction and usually caused by infestation of the lymph glands and vessels with a filarial worm.

el'e·phan·ti'ac' (-tī'āk') adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for elephantiasis

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for elephantiasis

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for elephantiasis