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[az-muh, as-] /ˈæz mə, ˈæs-/
Pathology. a paroxysmal, often allergic disorder of respiration, characterized by bronchospasm, wheezing, and difficulty in expiration, often accompanied by coughing and a feeling of constriction in the chest.
Also called bronchial asthma.
1350-1400; Middle English < Greek: a panting (akin to aázein to breathe hard); replacing Middle English asma < Medieval Latin < Greek ásthma Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for asthma
  • asthma is a disease of the respiratory system, which causes swelling and narrowing of the airways.
  • Surprisingly, it's five times more common than asthma.
  • However, if your genes predispose you to asthma or obesity, eradication may be unwise.
  • And this means that pepper sprays pose a genuine risk to people with asthma and other respiratory conditions.
  • Rising asthma rates may be partly explained by bacterial imbalances in our guts.
  • asthma is usually chronic, although it occasionally goes into long periods of remission.
  • Getting diagnosed with allergic asthma and taking meds to calm down the inflammation and help me breathe.
  • The trailers had a funny smell, and residents were coming down with nosebleeds, asthma and headaches.
  • Cleaning your carpet with non-toxic solutions eases allergy and asthma symptoms.
  • The autistic children also were more likely to have asthma.
British Dictionary definitions for asthma


a respiratory disorder, often of allergic origin, characterized by difficulty in breathing, wheezing, and a sense of constriction in the chest
Word Origin
C14: from Greek: laborious breathing, from azein to breathe hard
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 asthma

late 14c. asma, asma, from Latin asthma, from Greek asthma "short breath, a panting," from azein "breathe hard," probably related to anemos "wind." The -th- was restored in English 16c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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asthma in Medicine

asthma asth·ma (āz'mə, ās'-)
Bronchial asthma.

asth·mat'ic (-māt'ĭk) adj. & n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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asthma in Science
A common inflammatory disease of the lungs characterized by episodic airway obstruction caused by extensive narrowing of the bronchi and bronchioles. The narrowing is caused by spasm of smooth muscle, edema of the mucosa, and the presence of mucus in the airway resulting from an immunologic reaction that can be induced by allergies, irritants, infection, stress, and other factors in a genetically predisposed individual. Common symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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asthma in Culture
asthma [(az-muh)]

A chronic disease of the respiratory system, characterized by sudden, recurring attacks of difficult breathing, wheezing, and coughing. During an attack, the bronchial tubes go into spasms, becoming narrower and less able to move air into the lungs. Various substances to which the sufferer has an allergy, such as animal hair, dust, pollen, or certain foods, can trigger an attack.

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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