See more synonyms for fever on Thesaurus.com
  1. an abnormal condition of the body, characterized by undue rise in temperature, quickening of the pulse, and disturbance of various body functions.
  2. an abnormally high body temperature.
  3. the number of degrees of such a temperature above the normal.
  4. any of a group of diseases in which high temperature is a prominent symptom: scarlet fever.
  5. intense nervous excitement: The audience was in a fever of anticipation.
verb (used with object)
  1. to affect with or as with fever: The excitement fevered him.

Origin of fever

before 1000; Middle English; Old English fefer < Latin febr- (stem of febris) fever; reinforced by Anglo-French fevre, Old French fievre < Latin, as above
Related formsfe·ver·less, adjectiveun·fe·vered, adjective
Can be confusedfervent fever feverishfever temperature
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fever

Contemporary Examples of fever

Historical Examples of fever

  • Brother Mark of the Spicarium is sore smitten with a fever and could not come.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • "I'll do it," I cried, no longer able to resist, for the fever of it was in my blood.

  • "Yes, and catch their deaths of fever and ague," said Mrs. Bartlett.

  • He was all right when I left him, two hours ago, with not a sign of fever.

  • Not long after his arrival he had a slight attack of fever, which confined him to his bed.

    Biographical Stories

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

British Dictionary definitions for fever


  1. an abnormally high body temperature, accompanied by a fast pulse rate, dry skin, etcRelated adjectives: febrile, pyretic
  2. any of various diseases, such as yellow fever or scarlet fever, characterized by a high temperature
  3. intense nervous excitement or agitationshe was in a fever about her party
  1. (tr) to affect with or as if with fever
Derived Formsfevered, adjectivefeverless, adjective

Word Origin for fever

Old English fēfor, from Latin febris
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 fever

late Old English fefor, fefer "fever," from Latin febris "fever," related to fovere "to warm, heat," probably from PIE root *dhegh- "burn" (cf. Gothic dags, Old English dæg "day," originally "the heat"); but some suggest a reduplication of a root represented by Sanskrit *bhur- "to be restless."

Adopted into most Germanic languages (cf. German Fieber, Swedish feber, Danish feber), but not in Dutch. English spelling influenced by Old French fievre. Replaced Old English hriðing. Extended sense of "intense nervous excitement" is from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

fever in Medicine


  1. Body temperature above the normal of 98.6°F (37°C).pyrexia
  2. Any of various diseases in which there is an elevation of the body temperature above normal.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

fever in Science


  1. A body temperature that is higher than normal. Fever is the body's natural response to the release of substances called pyrogens by infectious agents such as bacteria and viruses. The pyrogens stimulate the hypothalamus in the brain to conserve heat and increase the basal metabolic rate.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with fever


see cabin fever; run a fever.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.