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[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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for elephantiasis
Historical Examples
  • You would have thought the whole ship's company was sickening for elephantiasis.

    In Eastern Seas J. J. Smith
  • The man who warned us was afflicted horribly with elephantiasis.

  • Sad to see was the elephantiasis that afflicted some of them.

  • 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.

  • This is the Anopheles, which "travels in" malaria and elephantiasis.

    The American Egypt Channing Arnold
  • It might be stricken with dry-rot, elephantiasis and plica polonica for ought I care.

  • Traces of elephantiasis have been discovered among his ascendants.

    Ulysses James Joyce
  • In his impressive tone Shelley announced ‘I have the elephantiasis.’

  • Its effect would probably be benign in a case of elephantiasis.

    Septimus William J. Locke
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
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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
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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.
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