[ in-pey-shuhnt ]
/ ˈɪnˌpeɪ ʃənt /
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a patient who stays in a hospital while receiving medical care or treatment.
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Origin of inpatient

First recorded in 1750–60; in-1 + patient
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does inpatient mean?

Inpatient is commonly used as an adjective to describe treatment that requires a patient to be admitted to a hospital or other care facility for at least one night.

Inpatient is used in contrast with the term outpatient, which describes treatment that does not require a patient to stay overnight.

The terms are especially used in phrases like inpatient treatment (which requires the patient to stay overnight at the hospital), inpatient room (where such patients stay), and outpatient procedure (after which the patient can leave, instead of staying for further observation or treatment).

Both terms can also be used as nouns referring to such patients.

Inpatient is typically used in the context of hospitals, but it can also refer to a patient of a mental health facility or other kinds of clinics.

Example: This type of surgery requires inpatient care—typically consisting of a one-week hospital stay.

Where does inpatient come from?

The first records of the word inpatient come from the mid-1700s. It’s a combination of the word patient, referring to someone receiving medical treatment, and the prefix in-, which indicates that the patient will stay in the hospital or facility.

Patients are called inpatients as soon as they’re admitted for an overnight stay, but inpatients can stay for much longer than one night. Sometimes, inpatient care can take weeks or even months. For this reason, the word inpatient is often associated with treatment of more serious conditions, whereas outpatient treatment is more often associated with minor issues, as indicated by phrases like routine outpatient surgery. Types of facilities that provide inpatient care include hospitals, mental health facilities, addiction treatment centers, and nursing homes.

Though it may be a frequent typo, inpatient should not be confused with the word impatient, which describes someone who has a lack of patience.

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What are some other forms related to inpatient?

What are some words that share a root or word element with inpatient



What are some words that often get used in discussing inpatient?

What are some words inpatient may be commonly confused with?

How is inpatient used in real life?

Inpatient is often used in contrast with outpatient. It’s most often used in the context of extended hospital stays.



Try using inpatient!

Is inpatient used correctly in the following sentence?

I get really inpatient when I have to wait for things to come in the mail!

How to use inpatient in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for inpatient

/ (ˈɪnˌpeɪʃənt) /

a hospital patient who occupies a bed for at least one night in the course of treatment, examination, or observationCompare outpatient
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