• synonyms


  1. (formerly) edema.
  2. an infectious disease of fishes, characterized by a swollen, spongelike body and protruding scales, caused by a variety of the bacterium Pseudomonas punctata.
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Origin of dropsy

1250–1300; Middle English drop(e)sie, aphetic variant of ydropesie < Old French < Medieval Latin (h)ydrōpisīa, equivalent to Latin hydrōpis(is) (< Greek hydrōpi-, stem of hýdrōps dropsy (hydr- hydr-1 + -ōpsi- < ?) + -sis -sis) + -ia -y3
Related formsdrop·sied [drop-seed] /ˈdrɒp sid/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dropsy

Historical Examples of dropsy

  • And from dropsy to the deprivation of life into which your folly will bring you.

    The Imaginary Invalid


  • Extraordinary cure by Dr. Cullingworth of a case of dropsy in Bradfield, 1881.

  • A certificate was made out that the last man had died of "dropsy."

  • And in other cases, asthma, dropsy, and epilepsy are caused.

  • Also the Woman with the Dropsy, which is accounted his chef-d'œuvre.

British Dictionary definitions for dropsy


  1. pathol a condition characterized by an accumulation of watery fluid in the tissues or in a body cavity
  2. slang a tip or bribe
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Derived Formsdropsical (ˈdrɒpsɪkəl) or dropsied, adjectivedropsically, adverb

Word Origin for dropsy

C13: shortened from ydropesie, from Latin hydrōpisis, from Greek hudrōps, from hudōr water
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 dropsy


late 13c., a shortening of Middle English ydropsy, from Old French idropsie, from Latin hydropsis, from Greek hydrops (genitive hydropos) "dropsy," from hydor "water" (see water (n.1)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dropsy in Medicine


  1. Edema. No longer in technical use.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.