[ em-fuh-see-muh, -zee- ]
See synonyms for: emphysematous on Thesaurus.com

  1. a chronic, irreversible disease of the lungs characterized by abnormal enlargement of air spaces in the lungs accompanied by destruction of the tissue lining the walls of the air spaces.

  2. any abnormal distention of an organ, or part of the body, with air or other gas.

Origin of emphysema

First recorded in 1655–65; from New Latin, from Greek emphȳ́sēma “inflation,” from em- em-2 + phȳsē- (variant stem of phȳsân “to blow”) + -ma noun suffix

Other words from emphysema

  • em·phy·sem·a·tous [em-fuh-sem-uh-tuhs, -see-muh-, -zem-uh-, -zee-muh-], /ˌɛm fəˈsɛm ə təs, -ˈsi mə-, -ˈzɛm ə-, -ˈzi mə-/, adjective
  • em·phy·se·mic, adjective

Words Nearby emphysema

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How to use emphysema in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for emphysema


/ (ˌɛmfɪˈsiːmə) /

  1. Also called: pulmonary emphysema a condition in which the air sacs of the lungs are grossly enlarged, causing breathlessness and wheezing

  2. the abnormal presence of air in a tissue or part

Origin of emphysema

C17: from New Latin, from Greek emphusēma, a swelling up, from emphusan to inflate, from phusan to blow

Derived forms of emphysema

  • emphysematous (ˌɛmfɪˈsɛmətəs, -ˈsiː-), adjective

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 emphysema


[ ĕm′fĭ-sē ]

  1. A chronic lung disease characterized by progressive, irreversible expansion of the alveoli with eventual destruction of alveolar tissue, causing obstruction to airflow. Patients with emphysema often have labored breathing, wheezing, chronic fatigue, and increased susceptibility to infection, and may require oxygen therapy. Long-term smoking is a common cause of emphysema.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for emphysema


[ (em-fuh-see-muh, em-fuh-zee-muh) ]

A chronic disease in which the tiny air sacs in the lungs become stretched and enlarged, so that they are less able to supply oxygen to the blood. Emphysema causes shortness of breath and painful coughing and can increase the likelihood of developing heart disease. Emphysema occurs most frequently in older men who have been heavy smokers.

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.