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[em-fuh-see-muh, -zee-] /ˌɛm fəˈsi mə, -ˈzi-/
noun, Pathology.
a chronic, irreversible disease of the lungs characterized by abnormal enlargement of air spaces in the lungs accompanied by destruction of the tissue lining the walls of the air spaces.
any abnormal distention of an organ, or part of the body, with air or other gas.
Origin of emphysema
1655-65; < New Latin < Greek emphȳ́sēma inflation, equivalent to em- em-2 + phȳsē- (variant stem of phȳsân to blow) + -ma noun suffix denoting result of action
Related forms
[em-fuh-sem-uh-tuh s, -see-muh-, -zem-uh-, -zee-muh-] /ˌɛm fəˈsɛm ə təs, -ˈsi mə-, -ˈzɛm ə-, -ˈzi mə-/ (Show IPA),
emphysemic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for emphysema


noun (pathol)
Also called pulmonary emphysema. a condition in which the air sacs of the lungs are grossly enlarged, causing breathlessness and wheezing
the abnormal presence of air in a tissue or part
Derived Forms
emphysematous (ˌɛmfɪˈsɛmətəs; -ˈsiː-) adjective
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin, from Greek emphusēma, a swelling up, from emphusan to inflate, from phusan to blow
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 emphysema

1660s, from Modern Latin, from Greek emphysema "swelling, inflation," from emphysan "inflate," from en "in" (see en- (2)) + physan "to blow," from physa "breath, blast" (see pustule).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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emphysema in Medicine

emphysema em·phy·se·ma (ěm'fĭ-sē'mə, -zē'-)

  1. A pathological condition of the lungs marked by an abnormal increase in the size of the air spaces, resulting in labored breathing and an increased susceptibility to infection. It can be caused by irreversible expansion of the alveoli or by the destruction of alveolar walls. Also called pulmonary emphysema.

  2. An abnormal distention of body tissues caused by retention of air.

em'phy·sem'a·tous (-sěm'ə-təs, -sē'mə-, -zěm'ə-, -zē'mə-) adj.
em'phy·se'mic adj. & n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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emphysema in Science
A chronic lung disease characterized by progressive, irreversible expansion of the alveoli with eventual destruction of alveolar tissue, causing obstruction to airflow. Patients with emphysema often have labored breathing, wheezing, chronic fatigue, and increased susceptibility to infection, and may require oxygen therapy. Long-term smoking is a common cause of emphysema.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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emphysema in Culture
emphysema [(em-fuh-see-muh, em-fuh-zee-muh)]

A chronic disease in which the tiny air sacs in the lungs become stretched and enlarged, so that they are less able to supply oxygen to the blood. Emphysema causes shortness of breath and painful coughing and can increase the likelihood of developing heart disease. Emphysema occurs most frequently in older men who have been heavy smokers.

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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