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[an-thraks] /ˈæn θræks/
noun, plural anthraces
[an-thruh-seez] /ˈæn θrəˌsiz/ (Show IPA).
an infectious, often fatal disease of cattle, sheep, and other mammals, caused by Bacillus anthracis, transmitted to humans by contaminated wool, raw meat, or other animal products.
a malignant carbuncle that is the diagnostic lesion of anthrax disease in humans.
Origin of anthrax
1350-1400; Middle English antrax malignant boil or growth < Latin anthrax carbuncle < Greek ánthrax a coal, carbuncle Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for anthrax


noun (pl) -thraces (-θrəˌsiːz)
a highly infectious and often fatal disease of herbivores, esp cattle and sheep, characterized by fever, enlarged spleen, and swelling of the throat. Carnivores are relatively resistant. It is caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis and can be transmitted to man
a pustule or other lesion caused by this disease
Word Origin
C19: from Late Latin, from Greek: carbuncle
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
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Word Origin and History for anthrax

late 14c., "any severe boil or carbuncle," from Latin, from Greek anthrax "charcoal, live coal," also "carbuncle," of unknown origin. Specific sense of the malignant disease in sheep and cattle (and occasionally humans) is from 1876.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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anthrax in Medicine

anthrax an·thrax (ān'thrāks')

  1. An infectious, usually fatal disease of warm-blooded animals that is characterized by ulcerative skin lesions, can be transmitted to humans, and is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Also called carbuncle.

  2. pl. an·thra·ces (-thrə-sēz') A lesion caused by anthrax.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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anthrax in Science
An infectious, usually fatal disease of mammals, especially cattle and sheep, caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The disease is transmitted to humans through cutaneous contact, ingestion, or inhalation. Cutaneous anthrax is marked by the formation of a necrotic skin ulcer, high fever, and toxemia. Inhalation anthrax leads to severe pneumonia that is usually fatal.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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anthrax in Culture

anthrax definition

An infectious disease transmitted by a bacterium in animals, which can also be transmitted to humans. Often fatal if the bacterium enters the lungs, anthrax is usually treated by antibiotics. Anthrax is a potential weapon in germ warfare and bioterrorism.

Note: After the September 11 attacks (2001) in the United States, anthrax spores sent through the mail caused several fatalities.
Note: If spores are prepared in a sophisticated way, they can stay in the air and be breathed in by human beings. Anthrax produced in this way is referred to as weaponized anthrax.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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