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[mahy-greyn or, British, mee-] /ˈmaɪ greɪn or, British, ˈmi-/
an extremely severe paroxysmal headache, usually confined to one side of the head and often associated with nausea; hemicrania.
Origin of migraine
1325-75; Middle English < Middle French < Late Latin hēmicrānia hemicrania; cf. megrim
Related forms
migrainoid, adjective
migrainous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for migraine
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She now declared herself excessively tired by her morning ride, and martyr, besides, to a migraine.

    Audrey Mary Johnston
  • One day, when migraine was worse, they had recourse to the musical glasses.

    Bouvard and Pcuchet Gustave Flaubert
  • On the other hand I have never seen any lasting effect on the so-called sick headache or migraine.

    Psychotherapy Hugo Mnsterberg
  • The second fact relates to the clinical history of migraine.

  • The same individual finds the odor of food beautiful when hungry, pleasant when full-fed, and unendurable when he has migraine.

    Criminal Psychology Hans Gross
British Dictionary definitions for migraine


/ˈmiːɡreɪn; ˈmaɪ-/
a throbbing headache usually affecting only one side of the head and commonly accompanied by nausea and visual disturbances
Derived Forms
migrainous, adjective
Word Origin
C18: (earlier form, C14 mygramemegrim1): from French, from Late Latin hēmicrānia pain in half of the head, from Greek hēmikrania, from hemi- + kranioncranium
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 migraine

late 14c., megrim, from Old French migraigne (13c.), from vulgar pronunciation of Late Latin hemicrania "pain in one side of the head, headache," from Greek hemikrania, from hemi- "half" + kranion "skull" (see cranium). The Middle English form was re-spelled 1777 on the French model. Related: Migrainous.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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migraine in Medicine

migraine mi·graine (mī'grān')
A severe recurring headache, usually affecting only one side of the head, that is characterized by sharp pain and is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and visual disturbances. Also called hemicrania, megrim, sick headache.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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migraine in Science
A severe recurring headache, usually affecting only one side of the head, that is characterized by sharp, throbbing pain and is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and visual disturbances. Vasodilation in the brain causes inflammation that results in pain, but the exact cause of migraine is unknown.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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