[ simp-tuhm ]
/ ˈsɪmp təm /


any phenomenon or circumstance accompanying something and serving as evidence of it.
a sign or indication of something.
Pathology. a phenomenon that arises from and accompanies a particular disease or disorder and serves as an indication of it.

Nearby words

  1. symport,
  2. symposiac,
  3. symposiarch,
  4. symposiast,
  5. symposium,
  6. symptom complex,
  7. symptom formation,
  8. symptomatic,
  9. symptomatic anthrax,
  10. symptomatic porphyria

Origin of symptom

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin symptōma < Greek sýmptōma occurrence, that which falls together with something, equivalent to sym- sym- + ptō- (variant stem of píptein to fall) + -ma noun suffix of result

Related formspre·symp·tom, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for symptom

British Dictionary definitions for symptom


/ (ˈsɪmptəm) /


med any sensation or change in bodily function experienced by a patient that is associated with a particular diseaseCompare sign (def. 9)
any phenomenon or circumstance accompanying something and regarded as evidence of its existence; indication
Derived Formssymptomless, adjective

Word Origin for symptom

C16: from Late Latin symptōma, from Greek sumptōma chance, from sumpiptein to occur, from syn- + piptein to fall

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 symptom



1540s, earlier sinthoma (late 14c.), from Medieval Latin sinthoma "symptom of a disease," from Late Latin symptoma, from Greek symptoma (genitive symptomatos) "a happening, accident, disease," from stem of sympiptein "to befall," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + piptein "to fall," from PIE *pi-pt-, reduplicated form of root *pet- "to rush; to fly" (see petition (n.)). Spelling altered in English by influence of Middle French and Late Latin forms. Symptomatic in general sense of "indicative (of)" is from 1751.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for symptom


[ sĭmtəm, sĭmp- ]


A subjective indication of a disorder or disease, such as pain, nausea, or weakness.

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

Science definitions for symptom


[ sĭmtəm ]

A subjective indication of a disorder or disease, such as pain, nausea or weakness. Symptoms may be accompanied by objective signs of disease such as abnormal laboratory test results or findings during a physical examination. Compare sign.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.