or pink eye
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Words nearby pinkeye
What is pinkeye?
Pinkeye is the common name for conjunctivitis and occasionally used as a slang term for other things.
Pinkeye is often spelled as two words: pink eye.
Where did the term pinkeye come from?
Pinkeye is a familiar name for conjunctivitis, or the inflammation of the conjunctiva (the membrane covering the eyes and lining the eyelids). It is a common viral or bacterial infection, affecting 3–6 million people in the U.S. alone each year. The name stems from the way the condition makes the eye look pink or red along with other symptoms of itchiness, watering, and swelling.
While pinkeye typically cures itself, antibiotics are sometimes necessary. It is often contagious, except when caused by allergens, passed directly from a person or from contaminated objects.
One common myth, popularized by the 2007 Seth Rogen comedy Knocked Up, claims that pinkeye is spread from fecal bacteria left on pillows from flatulence. Related myths include that the infection results from eye contact with the anus or semen during sex. The infection, rather, is principally caused by rubbing the eyes with hands carrying a certain virus or bacteria.
Occasional and unrelated senses of pinkeye include slang terms for “vagina” and “cheap red wine.” The “vagina” slang has been recorded since at least the early 1990s based on anatomical observations. The “wine” sense, extending to a “heavy drinker” or “binge-drinking,” dates back to Australian slang from the early 1900s into the 1970s.
How to use the term pinkeye
While the formal name may be conjunctivitis, many medical professionals refer to the condition as pinkeye. The term is also familiar to parents of and educational professionals working with school-aged children, who are instructed to stay home from school due to contagious pinkeye.
More examples of pinkeye
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released prevention, diagnosis, and treatment tips for pink eye.”
—Madeline Morr, The Clinical Advisor, April 2018
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
Example sentences from the Web for pinkeye
Or perhaps he caught a mild viral form of pinkeye—medically known as conjunctivitis.Everything You Wanted To Know About Bob Costas’s Olympic Pinkeye|Kent Sepkowitz|February 12, 2014|DAILY BEAST
All's well with the John Grier—except for a broken tooth, a sprained wrist, a badly scratched knee, and one case of pinkeye.Dear Enemy|Jean Webster