diphtheria

[dif-theer-ee-uh, dip-]
noun Pathology.
a febrile, infectious disease caused by the bacillus Corynebacterium diphtheriae, and characterized by the formation of a false membrane in the air passages, especially the throat.

Origin:
1850–55; < Neo-Latin < French diphthérie < Greek diphthér(a) skin, leather + -ia -ia

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World English Dictionary
diphtheria (dɪpˈθɪərɪə, dɪf-)
 
n
an acute contagious disease caused by the bacillus Corynebacterium diphtheriae, producing fever, severe prostration, and difficulty in breathing and swallowing as the result of swelling of the throat and formation of a false membrane
 
[C19: New Latin, from French diphthérie, from Greek diphthera leather; from the nature of the membrane]
 
diph'therial
 
adj
 
diphtheritic
 
adj
 
diphtheric
 
adj
 
'diphtheroid
 
adj

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

diphtheria
coined 1857 in Fr. by physician Pierre Bretonneau from Gk. diphthera "hide, leather," of unknown origin; the disease so called for the tough membrane that forms in the throat. Formerly known in England as the Boulogne sore throat, since it spread from France.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

diphtheria diph·the·ri·a (dĭf-thēr'ē-ə, dĭp-)
n.
An acute infectious disease caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, and characterized by the production of a systemic toxin and the formation of a false membrane on the lining of the mucous membrane of the throat and other respiratory passages, causing difficulty in breathing, high fever, and weakness. The toxin is particularly harmful to the tissues of the heart and central nervous system.


diph'the·rit'ic (-thə-rĭt'ĭk) or diph·ther'ic (-thěr'ĭk) or diph·the'ri·al 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
diphtheria   (dĭf-thîr'ē-ə, dĭp-)  Pronunciation Key 
An infectious disease caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae and characterized by fever, swollen glands, and the formation of a membrane in the throat that prevents breathing. Infants are routinely vaccinated against diphtheria, which was once a common cause of death in children.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
diphtheria [(dif-theer-ee-uh, dip-theer-ee-uh)]

An acute disease, and a contagious disease, caused by bacteria that invade mucous membranes in the body, especially those found in the throat. The bacteria produce toxic substances that can spread throughout the body.

Note: In developed countries, diphtheria has been virtually wiped out through an active program of infant immunization.
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
He has survived diphtheria, a gangrenous foot, and an appendix that ruptured
  while he was hunting.
The fact was emphasized by the occurrence here and there of a few isolated
  deaths from diphtheria and scarlet fever.
Infants now routinely receive a combined pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus
  vaccine.
Think back to when smallpox, diphtheria, polio etc were real scourges.
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