• synonyms

sleeping sickness

[slee-ping sik-nis]
See more synonyms for sleeping sickness on Thesaurus.com
noun Pathology.
  1. Also called African sleeping sickness, African trypanosomiasis. a generally fatal disease, common in parts of Africa, characterized by fever, wasting, and progressive lethargy: caused by a parasitic protozoan, Trypanosoma gambiense or T. rhodesiense, that is carried by a tsetse fly, Glossina palpalis.
  2. Also called epidemic encephalitis, lethargic encephalitis. a viral disease affecting the brain, characterized by apathy, sleepiness, extreme muscular weakness, and impairment of vision.
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Also British, sleep·y sick·ness.

Origin of sleeping sickness

First recorded in 1870–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for sleeping sickness

catalepsy, encephalitis, narcolepsy, trypanosomiasis

Examples from the Web for sleeping sickness

Historical Examples of sleeping sickness

  • The hostess suggests that your friend may have the sleeping-sickness.

    Of All Things

    Robert C. Benchley

  • She was always talking to them about the "sleeping-sickness" and things o' that kind.

    The Unknown

    W.W. Jacobs

  • Among the well-known human diseases of protozoan origin are malaria, amoebic dysentery, and sleeping-sickness.

British Dictionary definitions for sleeping sickness

sleeping sickness

  1. Also called: African sleeping sickness an African disease caused by infection with protozoans of the genus Trypanosoma, characterized by fever, wasting, and sluggishness
  2. Also called (esp formerly): sleepy sickness an epidemic viral form of encephalitis characterized by extreme drowsinessTechnical name: encephalitis lethargica
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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

sleeping sickness in Medicine

sleeping sickness

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

sleeping sickness in Science

sleeping sickness

  1. An often fatal protozoan infection prevalent in tropical Africa, caused by either of two trypanosomes spread by the bite of the tsetse fly and characterized by fever and extreme lethargy.
  2. Encephalitis that is caused by any of various viruses and is characterized by lethargy and extreme muscular weakness.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.