smallpox

[ smawl-poks ]
/ ˈsmɔlˌpɒks /
|

noun Pathology.

an acute, highly contagious, febrile disease, caused by the variola virus, and characterized by a pustular eruption that often leaves permanent pits or scars: eradicated worldwide by vaccination programs.

Nearby words

  1. smallholding,
  2. smallish,
  3. smallmouth,
  4. smallmouth bass,
  5. smallness,
  6. smallpox vaccine,
  7. smallpox virus,
  8. smalls,
  9. smallsword,
  10. smalt

Origin of smallpox

First recorded in 1510–20; small + pox

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

Examples from the Web for smallpox


British Dictionary definitions for smallpox

smallpox

/ (ˈsmɔːlˌpɒks) /

noun

an acute highly contagious viral disease characterized by high fever, severe prostration, and a pinkish rash changing in form from papules to pustules, which dry up and form scabs that are cast off, leaving pitted depressionsTechnical name: variola Related adjective: variolous

Word Origin for smallpox

C16: from small + pox . So called to distinguish it from the Great Pox, an archaic name for syphilis

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 smallpox

smallpox

n.

acute, highly contagious disease, 1510s, small pokkes, as distinguished from great pox "syphillis;" from small-pock "pustule caused by smallpox" (mid-15c.); see small (adj.) + pox. Cf. French petite vérole. Fatal in a quarter to a third of unvaccinated cases.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for smallpox

smallpox

[ smôlpŏks′ ]

n.

An acute, highly infectious, often fatal disease caused by a poxvirus and characterized by high fever and aches with subsequent widespread eruption of papules that blister, produce pus, and form scabs that leave permanent pockmarks.variola

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

Science definitions for smallpox

smallpox

[ smôlpŏks′ ]

A highly infectious and often fatal disease caused by the variola virus of the genus Orthopoxvirus and characterized by fever, headache, and severely inflamed skin sores that result in extensive scarring. Once a dreaded killer of children that caused the deaths of millions of Native Americans after the arrival of European settlers in the Americas, smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980 following a worldwide vaccination campaign. Samples of the virus have been preserved in laboratories in the United States and Russia. Also called variola See Note at Jenner.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for smallpox

smallpox

An acute and infectious disease caused by a virus and now almost completely eradicated. Smallpox was characterized by high fever and large sores on the body that leave scars.

Note

A surface with many blemishes is sometimes said to be “pockmarked” because it resembles the skin of a smallpox sufferer.

Note

Smallpox is the first disease of humans to be completely eradicated by a worldwide campaign of inoculation.

Note

Today, the smallpox virus exists only in laboratories.

Note

The use of smallpox is a major concern in the area of bioterrorism (see also bioterrorism).

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.