[ rik-its ]
/ ˈrɪk ɪts /

noun Pathology.

a disease of childhood, characterized by softening of the bones as a result of inadequate intake of vitamin D and insufficient exposure to sunlight, also associated with impaired calcium and phosphorus metabolism.

Nearby words

  1. ricinus oil,
  2. rick,
  3. rickenbacker,
  4. rickenbacker, edward vernon,
  5. ricker,
  6. ricketts,
  7. rickettsia,
  8. rickettsia akari,
  9. rickettsia australis,
  10. rickettsia conorii

Origin of rickets

First recorded in 1635–45; origin uncertain

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rickets

British Dictionary definitions for rickets


/ (ˈrɪkɪts) /


(functioning as singular or plural) pathol a disease mainly of children, characterized by softening of developing bone, and hence bow legs, malnutrition, and enlargement of the liver and spleen, caused by a deficiency of vitamin D

Word Origin for rickets

C17: of unknown origin

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 rickets



disease caused by vitamin D deficiency, 1630s, of uncertain origin. Originally a local name for the disease in Dorset and Somerset, England. Some derive it from a Dorset word, rucket "to breathe with difficulty," but the sense connection is difficult. The Modern Latin name for the disease, rachitis, comes from Greek rhakhis "spine" (see rachitic), but this was chosen by English physician Daniel Whistler (1619-1684) for resemblance to rickets.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for rickets


[ rĭkĭts ]


A bone disease resulting in defective skeletal growth in children, analogous to osteomalacia in adults, characterized by bone demineralization caused by deficiency or impaired metabolism of vitamin D or phosphates. infantile osteomalacia juvenile osteomalacia rachitis

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for rickets


[ rĭkĭts ]

A bone disease seen mostly in children, caused by a deficiency of vitamin D, usually as a result of inadequate dietary intake or lack of exposure to sunlight. This deficiency causes decreased calcium absorption from the intestine and abnormalities in formation and mineralization of skeletal bone, resulting in defective bone growth and deformity.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.