[ ak-nee ]
/ ˈæk ni /
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noun Pathology.
an inflammatory disease of the sebaceous glands, characterized by comedones and pimples, especially on the face, back, and chest, and, in severe cases, by cysts and nodules resulting in scarring.
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Also called ac·ne vul·ga·ris [vuhl-gair-is, -gar-]. /vʌlˈgɛər ɪs, -ˈgær-/.
Compare rosacea.

Origin of acne

1820–30; <New Latin <Late Greek aknás, a manuscript error for akmás, accusative plural of akmḗ facial eruption, probably to be identified with Greek akmḗacme


acned, adjective


acme, acne
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is acne?

Acne is a skin condition in which the skin’s sebaceous glands become clogged, infected, and inflamed. A more technical name for it is acne vulgaris.

Acne commonly results in pimples—small inflammations or swellings of the skin that may or may not be filled with pus. More severe cases of acne can result in cysts and nodules that can leave scars.

Acne most commonly affects the face, neck, and back. It is most common among teens and preteens due to changes in body chemistry during the period of development known as puberty, but adults can also get acne.

Example: My skin is naturally oily, so I have to buy a specific face wash to help keep my acne under control.

Where does acne come from?

The word acne ultimately comes from the Greek akmḗ, meaning “facial eruption.” The first records of the word acne come from the 1700s.

The skin condition acne comes from the clogging of the skin’s sebaceous glands. These glands normally release an oily substance that acts as a natural moisturizer for the skin and hair. But when they get clogged, they get inflamed, often resulting in red bumps on the skin known as pimples. Most people get acne at some point, but some people get it worse than others. It sometimes goes away on its own, but sometimes it calls for additional treatment by a dermatologist—a doctor who specializes in skin conditions.

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What are some other forms related to acne?

  • acned (adjective)

What are some synonyms for acne?

What are some words that share a root or word element with acne

What are some words that often get used in discussing acne?

How is the word acne used in real life?

Acne is fairly common, especially among teens. Most people treat it as an annoyance.



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Is acne used correctly in the following sentence?

I can’t believe I got a bad case of acne right before the dance!

How to use acne in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for acne

/ (ˈæknɪ) /

Also called: acne vulgaris a chronic skin disease common in adolescence, involving inflammation of the sebaceous glands and characterized by pustules on the face, neck, and upper trunkSee also rosacea

Word Origin for acne

C19: New Latin, from a misreading of Greek akmē eruption on the face. See acme
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

Scientific definitions for acne

[ ăknē ]

An inflammatory disease of the skin in which the sebaceous glands become clogged and infected, often causing the formation of pimples, especially on the face. It is most common during adolescence, but also occurs in infants and adults.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.