• synonyms


or sep·ti·cae·mi·a

[ sep-tuh-see-mee-uh ]
/ ˌsɛp təˈsi mi ə /

noun Pathology.

the invasion and persistence of pathogenic bacteria in the blood-stream.

Nearby words

septic shock, septic sore throat, septic tank, septic-, septicaemia, septicemia, septicemic abscess, septicemic plague, septicidal, septicity, septico-

Origin of septicemia

From New Latin, dating back to 1865–70; see origin at septic, -emia
Related formssep·ti·ce·mic, sep·ti·cae·mic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for septicaemia

  • You know while the bullet slew its thousands, septicaemia has slain its tens of thousands.

    Leaves from a Field Note-Book|J. H. Morgan
  • For cancer, infectious fevers (measles, scarlet fever, typhoid and septicaemia) and as a prophylactic.

  • In acute anaemias, such as those associated with septicaemia, there is no doubt that blood destruction plays the principal part.

British Dictionary definitions for septicaemia


US septicemia

/ (ˌsɛptɪˈsiːmɪə) /


a condition caused by pus-forming microorganisms in the bloodNontechnical name: blood poisoning See also bacteraemia, pyaemia
Derived Formssepticaemic or US septicemic, adjective

Word Origin for septicaemia

C19: from New Latin, from Greek sēptik (os) septic + -aemia
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 septicaemia



1857, Modern Latin septicæmia, from French septicoemi, coined irregularly by French physician Pierre-Adolphe Piorry (1794-1879) in 1837 from Greek septikos (see septic) + haima "blood" (see -emia).

Dr. Piorry, in a second communication, insists upon the fact, that in a great number of cases the decaying contents of the uterus, and the putrid infection of the blood from this source, constitute the so-called puerperal fever, and he thinks that the discussion in the Academy is only a fight about words, as the different speakers agree, without knowing it themselves, upon the nature of the disease. He proposes the name of septicemia, as best designating the sources of the disease, viz., from putrid infection from the uterus, and by the respiration of an atmosphere pregnant with septic particles. ... The admission of this septicemia explains the putrid accidents, as observed in men, the foetus, and wounded persons during a puerperal epidemic. [E. Noeggerath and A. Jacobi, "Contributions to Midwifery," New York, 1859]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for septicaemia


[ sĕp′tĭ-sēmē-ə ]


A systemic disease caused by the multiplication of microorganisms in the blood.blood poisoning septic fever
Related formssep′ti•cemic (-mĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.