View synonyms for morbidity


[ mawr-bid-i-tee ]


  1. a morbid state or quality.
  2. the proportion of sickness or of a specific disease in a geographical locality.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of morbidity1

First recorded in 1715–25; morbid + -ity
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Example Sentences

Serious pregnancy complications, known as severe maternal morbidity, are also rising, affecting more than 50,000 individuals every year.

“Each newborn with a significant event, be it death or a significant morbidity that could even possibly be related to the care administered, I think those all require careful discussion to see if there is any systemic cause,” Goodman said.

One way neonatal hospitals improve the quality of care after things go wrong is by convening formal staff morbidity and mortality, or “M&M,” case reviews.

The Global Fund and PEPFAR have mobilized resources that have helped to reduce morbidity and mortality in low- and middle-income regions.

Overall, Manaus’ experience reveals “that an unmitigated outbreak will lead to very significant morbidity and mortality,” says Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, “which is basically what we’ve been saying since February.”

The cases share a kind of morbidity: A man, eighty, is pronounced dead after thirty minutes of CPR.

I do agree that mortality isn't everything; morbidity (poor health) matters too.

He has not the exaltation nor the ardent vehemence of Rousseau, neither has he the sentimental morbidity of Xavier de Maistre.

If you deny them to the latter, all you get is poverty of ideas, and morbidity, and mawkishness.

The girl is growing up, fit to wear longer dresses, and exhibiting the morbidity appropriate to her years.

As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity.

They are a fairly disreputable couple by this time because we are beginning to know how much morbidity they represent.


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Morbidity Vs. Mortality

What’s the difference between morbidity and mortality?

In a medical context, the word morbidity refers to the incidence or prevalence of a disease in a specific population or location (sometimes called the morbidity rate), while the word mortality refers to relative frequency of deaths in a specific population or location (sometimes called the mortality rate).

The related word cormorbidity is used in medical contexts to refer to the state of having multiple medical conditions at the same time.

In this context, morbidity relates to sickness, while mortality relates to death.

Both morbidity and mortality are also used in nontechnical ways. Morbidity is the noun form of the adjective morbid, which most commonly means excessively gloomy or having an unusual interest in dark subjects, like death. Morbidity, then, can be used to refer to the quality of having this interest, as in Her latest novel lacks the morbidity of her earlier works. 

Mortality, on the other hand, most commonly refers to the state or condition of being subject to death, as in Humans are aware of their own mortality. The opposite of this is immortality—unending life.

Here’s an example of morbidity and mortality used correctly in the same sentence.

Example: Studies show that while the morbidity in the region remains quite high, the mortality rate from the disease has continued to drop. 

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between morbidity and mortality.

Quiz yourself on morbidity vs. mortality!

Should morbidity or mortality be used in the following sentence?

It is hoped that the vaccination program will decrease _____ among the population, and, as a result, reduce the number of deaths from the disease.