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[en-sef-uh-lahy-tis] /ɛnˌsɛf əˈlaɪ tɪs/
noun, Pathology.
inflammation of the substance of the brain.
Also called encephalitis lethargica
[li-thahr-ji-kuh] /lɪˈθɑr dʒɪ kə/ (Show IPA)
. a form of this condition, caused by a filterable virus and characterized by apathy and abnormal sleepiness; sleeping sickness.
Origin of encephalitis
First recorded in 1835-45; encephal- + -itis
Related forms
[en-sef-uh-lit-ik] /ɛnˌsɛf əˈlɪt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
postencephalitic, adjective
pseudoencephalitic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for encephalitis lethargica

encephalitis lethargica

(pathol) a technical name for sleeping sickness (sense 2)


/ˌɛnsɛfəˈlaɪtɪs; ˌɛnkɛf-/
inflammation of the brain
Derived Forms
encephalitic (ˌɛnsɛfəˈlɪtɪk) adjective
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 encephalitis lethargica



1843, from medical Latin encephalon (from Greek enkephalos "brain," literally "within the head," from en "in" + kephale "head;" see cephalo-) + -itis.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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encephalitis lethargica in Medicine

encephalitis lethargica encephalitis le·thar·gi·ca (lə-thär'jĭ-kə)
A viral epidemic encephalitis characterized by apathy, paralysis of an eye muscle, and extreme muscular weakness. Also called sleeping sickness, von Economo's disease.

encephalitis en·ceph·a·li·tis (ěn-sěf'ə-lī'tĭs)
n. pl. en·ceph·a·lit·i·des (-lĭt'ĭ-dēz)
Inflammation of the brain. Also called cephalitis.

en·ceph'a·lit'ic (-lĭt'ĭk) 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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encephalitis lethargica in Science
Inflammation of the brain, usually caused by infection with a virus.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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encephalitis lethargica in Culture
encephalitis [(en-sef-uh-leye-tis)]

An inflammation of the brain. Encephalitis may be caused by a virus or lead poisoning, or it may be a complication of another disease, such as influenza or measles. Encephalitis can cause permanent brain damage or death. It is also possible, however, to recover from it completely.

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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