[el-uh-fuh n-tahy-uh-sis, -fan-]


Pathology. a chronic filarial disease resulting in lymphatic obstruction, characterized by marked enlargement of the parts affected, especially of the legs and scrotum, transmitted by mosquitoes.
untoward growth or development: bureaucratic elephantiasis.

Nearby words

  1. elephant seal,
  2. elephant shrew,
  3. elephant's-ear,
  4. elephant's-foot,
  5. elephant's-trunk snake,
  6. elephantiasis neuromatosa,
  7. elephantiasis nostras,
  8. elephantiasis scroti,
  9. elephantine,
  10. elephantoid fever

Origin of elephantiasis

1575–85; < Latin < Greek elephantíāsis, equivalent to elephant- elephant + -iāsis -iasis

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for elephantiasis

British Dictionary definitions for elephantiasis



pathol a complication of chronic filariasis, in which nematode worms block the lymphatic vessels, usually in the legs or scrotum, causing extreme enlargement of the affected areaSee also filariasis
Derived Formselephantiasic (ˌɛlɪˌfæntɪˈæsɪk, ˌɛlɪfənˈtaɪəsɪk), adjective

Word Origin for elephantiasis

C16: via Latin from Greek, from elephas elephant + -iasis

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 elephantiasis



1580s, from Greek elephantos, genitive of elephas "elephant" (see elephant) + -iasis "pathological or morbid condition." It refers to two diseases, one characterized by thickening of a body part (E. Arabum), the other, older meaning is "disease characterized by skin resembling an elephant's" (E. Græcorum, also called Egyptian leprosy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for elephantiasis




Chronic, often extreme enlargement and hardening of cutaneous and subcutaneous tissue, especially of the legs and external genitals, resulting from lymphatic obstruction and usually caused by infestation of the lymph glands and vessels with a filarial worm.
Related formsel′e•phan•tiac′ (-tīăk′) adj.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.