cataract

[kat-uh-rakt]
noun
1.
a descent of water over a steep surface; a waterfall, especially one of considerable size.
2.
any furious rush or downpour of water; deluge.
3.
Ophthalmology.
a.
an abnormality of the eye, characterized by opacity of the lens.
b.
the opaque area.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English cataracte < Latin catar(r)acta < Greek katarráktēs waterfall, floodgate, portcullis (noun), downrushing (adj.), akin to katarássein to dash down, equivalent to kat- cata- + arássein to smite

cataractal, cataractous, adjective
cataracted, adjective
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World English Dictionary
cataract (ˈkætəˌrækt)
 
n
1.  a large waterfall or rapids
2.  a deluge; downpour
3.  pathol
 a.  partial or total opacity of the crystalline lens of the eye
 b.  the opaque area
 
[C15: from Latin catarracta, from Greek katarrhaktēs, from katarassein to dash down, from arassein to strike]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

cataract
1430, from L. cataracta "waterfall," from Gk. katarhaktes "swooping, rushing down," from kata "down" + arhattein "to strike hard." Its alternative sense in L. of "portcullis" was probably passed through M.Fr. to form the Eng. meaning "eye disease" (1547), on the notion of "obstruction."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

cataract cat·a·ract (kāt'ə-rākt')
n.
Opacity of the lens or capsule of the eye, causing impairment of vision or blindness.


cat'a·rac'tous (-rāk'təs) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
cataract   (kāt'ə-rākt')  Pronunciation Key 
  1. An opacity of the lens of the eye or the membrane that covers it, causing impairment of vision or blindness.

  2. A waterfall in which a large volume of water flows over a steep precipice.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
cataract [(kat-uh-rakt)]

A loss in the transparency of the lens of the eye, which reduces a person's ability to see. The condition can be treated by surgically removing the lens and replacing it with an artificial one, or with corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses.

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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Example sentences
The prevalence of cataracts increases dramatically with age.
During the early stages, cataracts have little effect on vision.
Some cataracts stop progressing after a certain point.
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world, and are often
  related to aging.
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