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leprosy

[lep-ruh-see]
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noun Pathology.
  1. a chronic, mildly infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, affecting the peripheral nervous system, skin, and nasal mucosa and variously characterized by ulcerations, tubercular nodules, and loss of sensation that sometimes leads to traumatic amputation of the anesthetized part.
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Origin of leprosy

1525–35; perhaps < Medieval Latin leprōsia (recorded only as synonym for leprosarium) < Greek léprōs(is) leprosy + -ia -y3
Also called Hansen's disease.
Related formslep·rot·ic [le-prot-ik] /lɛˈprɒt ɪk/, adjectivean·ti·lep·ro·sy, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for leprosy

leprosy

noun
  1. pathol a chronic infectious disease occurring mainly in tropical and subtropical regions, characterized by the formation of painful inflamed nodules beneath the skin and disfigurement and wasting of affected parts, caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium lepraeAlso called: Hansen's disease
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Word Origin

C16: from leprous + -y ³
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

Word Origin and History for leprosy

n.

1530s (earlier lepruse, mid-15c.), from leprous; see leper. First used in Coverdale Bible, where it renders Hebrew cara'ath, which apparently was a comprehensive term for skin diseases. Because of pejorative associations, the use of the word in medical context has been banned by the World Health Organization and replaced by Hansen's disease, named for Norwegian physician Armauer Hansen (1841-1912) who in 1871 discovered the bacillus that causes it.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

leprosy in Medicine

leprosy

(lĕprə-sē)
n.
  1. A chronic, mildly contagious granulomatous disease of tropical and subtropical regions, caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium leprae, characterized by ulcers of the skin, bone, and viscera and leading to loss of sensation, paralysis, gangrene, and deformation. It occurs in two principal types: lepromatous and tuberculoid.Hansen's disease
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Related formsleprous (lĕprəs) null adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

leprosy in Science

leprosy

[lĕprə-sē]
  1. A slowly progressive, chronic infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae, that damages nerves, skin, and mucous membranes, and can lead to loss of sensation, paralysis, gangrene, and deformity if untreated.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

leprosy in Culture

leprosy

[(lep-ruh-see)]

A chronic and infectious disease, characterized by patches of altered skin and nerve tissue (lesions) that gradually spread to cause muscle weakness, deformities, and paralysis. Some forms of antibiotics are now used to treat this disease, and plastic surgery can help correct the deformities it causes. Also called Hansen's disease.

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Note

Leprosy has been well known since ancient times, when widespread fear of those afflicted with the disease caused them to be treated as outcasts. Today, the term leper is often used to refer to a person excluded from society.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.