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[fee-ver] /ˈfi vər/
an abnormal condition of the body, characterized by undue rise in temperature, quickening of the pulse, and disturbance of various body functions.
an abnormally high body temperature.
the number of degrees of such a temperature above the normal.
any of a group of diseases in which high temperature is a prominent symptom:
scarlet fever.
intense nervous excitement:
The audience was in a fever of anticipation.
verb (used with object)
to affect with or as with fever:
The excitement fevered him.
Origin of fever
before 1000; Middle English; Old English fefer < Latin febr- (stem of febris) fever; reinforced by Anglo-French fevre, Old French fievre < Latin, as above
Related forms
feverless, adjective
unfevered, adjective
Can be confused
fervent, fever, feverish.
fever, temperature. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fever
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Brother Mark of the Spicarium is sore smitten with a fever and could not come.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • "Yes, and catch their deaths of fever and ague," said Mrs. Bartlett.

  • "I'll do it," I cried, no longer able to resist, for the fever of it was in my blood.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • He was all right when I left him, two hours ago, with not a sign of fever.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
  • Not long after his arrival he had a slight attack of fever, which confined him to his bed.

    Biographical Stories Nathaniel Hawthorne
British Dictionary definitions for fever


an abnormally high body temperature, accompanied by a fast pulse rate, dry skin, etc related adjectives febrile pyretic
any of various diseases, such as yellow fever or scarlet fever, characterized by a high temperature
intense nervous excitement or agitation: she was in a fever about her party
(transitive) to affect with or as if with fever
Derived Forms
fevered, adjective
feverless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English fēfor, from Latin febris
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 fever

late Old English fefor, fefer "fever," from Latin febris "fever," related to fovere "to warm, heat," probably from PIE root *dhegh- "burn" (cf. Gothic dags, Old English dæg "day," originally "the heat"); but some suggest a reduplication of a root represented by Sanskrit *bhur- "to be restless."

Adopted into most Germanic languages (cf. German Fieber, Swedish feber, Danish feber), but not in Dutch. English spelling influenced by Old French fievre. Replaced Old English hriðing. Extended sense of "intense nervous excitement" is from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fever in Medicine

fever fe·ver (fē'vər)

  1. Body temperature above the normal of 98.6°F (37°C). Also called pyrexia.

  2. Any of various diseases in which there is an elevation of the body temperature above normal.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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fever in Science
A body temperature that is higher than normal. Fever is the body's natural response to the release of substances called pyrogens by infectious agents such as bacteria and viruses. The pyrogens stimulate the hypothalamus in the brain to conserve heat and increase the basal metabolic rate.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for fever



  1. The five of a playing-card suit
  2. Five or the point of five; phoebe (1940s+ Gambling)

Related Terms

cabin fever

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with fever
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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