• synonyms


[pawr-feer-ee-uh, -fahy-ree-uh]
noun Pathology.
  1. a defect of blood pigment metabolism in which porphyrins are produced in excess, are present in the blood, and are found in the urine.
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Origin of porphyria

First recorded in 1920–25; porphyr(in) + -ia
Also called hematoporphyria.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for porphyria

Historical Examples

  • Would she not almost be ready, in such an hour, to die as Porphyria died?

    Browning's Heroines

    Ethel Colburn Mayne

  • Was called "Porphyria's Lover" in the Works, 1863 and after.

  • But the two which are much the most noteworthy are "Johannes Agricola" and "Porphyria."

  • Pauline, of course, exists only as an abstraction, and Porphyria is in no exact sense a portrait from the life.

  • This species differs from A. porphyria in ring not being brown or brownish.

British Dictionary definitions for porphyria


  1. a hereditary disease of body metabolism, producing abdominal pain, mental confusion, etc
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Word Origin

C19: from New Latin, from porphyrin a purple substance excreted by patients suffering from this condition, from Greek porphura purple
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 porphyria


metabolic disorder, 1923, from porphyrin (1910), the ame of the type of chemical which, in imbalance, causes it, from German porphyrin, chemical name, from Greek porphyros "purple" (see purple) + -in (2). Some of the compounds are purple.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

porphyria in Medicine


  1. Any of several disorders of porphyrin metabolism, usually hereditary, characterized by large amounts of porphyrins in the blood and urine.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.