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diphtheria

[dif-theer-ee-uh, dip-]
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noun Pathology.
  1. a febrile, infectious disease caused by the bacillus Corynebacterium diphtheriae, and characterized by the formation of a false membrane in the air passages, especially the throat.
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Origin of diphtheria

1850–55; < New Latin < French diphthérie < Greek diphthér(a) skin, leather + -ia -ia
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for diphtheria

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The immediate cause of diphtheria has been known only within recent years.

    Rural Hygiene

    Henry N. Ogden

  • How she had got it nobody knew; but diphtheria Jane had, and of the most malignant type.

    A Modern Tomboy

    L. T. Meade

  • It is no longer necessary for children to choke to death with diphtheria.

  • There was no sign of further outbreak of diphtheria upon the island.

    The Mermaid

    Lily Dougall

  • I saw it often enough when I had diphtheria and he was taking my pulse.


British Dictionary definitions for diphtheria

diphtheria

noun
  1. an acute contagious disease caused by the bacillus Corynebacterium diphtheriae, producing fever, severe prostration, and difficulty in breathing and swallowing as the result of swelling of the throat and formation of a false membrane
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Derived Formsdiphtherial, diphtheritic (ˌdɪpθəˈrɪtɪk, dɪf-) or diphtheric (dɪpˈθɛrɪk, dɪf-), adjectivediphtheroid, adjective

Word Origin

C19: New Latin, from French diphthérie, from Greek diphthera leather; from the nature of the membrane
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 diphtheria

n.

from French diphthérie, coined 1857 by physician Pierre Bretonneau (1778-1862) from Greek diphthera "prepared hide, leather," of unknown origin; the disease so called for the tough membrane that forms in the throat. Bretonneau's earlier name for it was diphthérite, anglicized as diphtheritis (1826). Formerly known in England as the Boulogne sore throat, because it spread from France.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

diphtheria in Medicine

diphtheria

(dĭf-thîrē-ə, dĭp-)
n.
  1. An acute infectious disease caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, and characterized by the production of a systemic toxin and the formation of a false membrane on the lining of the mucous membrane of the throat and other respiratory passages, causing difficulty in breathing, high fever, and weakness. The toxin is particularly harmful to the tissues of the heart and central nervous system.
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Related formsdiph′the•ritic (-thə-rĭtĭk) null null adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

diphtheria in Science

diphtheria

[dĭf-thîrē-ə, dĭp-]
  1. An infectious disease caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae and characterized by fever, swollen glands, and the formation of a membrane in the throat that prevents breathing. Infants are routinely vaccinated against diphtheria, which was once a common cause of death in children.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

diphtheria in Culture

diphtheria

[(dif-theer-ee-uh, dip-theer-ee-uh)]

An acute disease, and a contagious disease, caused by bacteria that invade mucous membranes in the body, especially those found in the throat. The bacteria produce toxic substances that can spread throughout the body.

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Note

In developed countries, diphtheria has been virtually wiped out through an active program of infant immunization.
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.