[em-fuh-see-muh, -zee-]
noun Pathology.
a chronic, irreversible disease of the lungs characterized by abnormal enlargement of air spaces in the lungs accompanied by destruction of the tissue lining the walls of the air spaces.
any abnormal distention of an organ, or part of the body, with air or other gas.

1655–65; < Neo-Latin < Greek emphȳ́sēma inflation, equivalent to em- em-2 + phȳsē- (variant stem of phȳsân to blow) + -ma noun suffix denoting result of action

emphysematous [em-fuh-sem-uh-tuhs, -see-muh-, -zem-uh-, -zee-muh-] , adjective
emphysemic, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
emphysema (ˌɛmfɪˈsiːmə)
1.  Also called: pulmonary emphysema a condition in which the air sacs of the lungs are grossly enlarged, causing breathlessness and wheezing
2.  the abnormal presence of air in a tissue or part
[C17: from New Latin, from Greek emphusēma, a swelling up, from emphusan to inflate, from phusan to blow]

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Word Origin & History

1661, from Gk. emphysema "swelling," from emphysan "inflate," from en- "in" + physan "to blow," from physa "breath, blast."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

emphysema em·phy·se·ma (ěm'fĭ-sē'mə, -zē'-)

  1. A pathological condition of the lungs marked by an abnormal increase in the size of the air spaces, resulting in labored breathing and an increased susceptibility to infection. It can be caused by irreversible expansion of the alveoli or by the destruction of alveolar walls. Also called pulmonary emphysema.

  2. An abnormal distention of body tissues caused by retention of air.

em'phy·sem'a·tous (-sěm'ə-təs, -sē'mə-, -zěm'ə-, -zē'mə-) adj.
em'phy·se'mic 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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
emphysema   (ěm'fĭ-sē'mə)  Pronunciation Key 
A chronic lung disease characterized by progressive, irreversible expansion of the alveoli with eventual destruction of alveolar tissue, causing obstruction to airflow. Patients with emphysema often have labored breathing, wheezing, chronic fatigue, and increased susceptibility to infection, and may require oxygen therapy. Long-term smoking is a common cause of emphysema.
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Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
emphysema [(em-fuh-see-muh, em-fuh-zee-muh)]

A chronic disease in which the tiny air sacs in the lungs become stretched and enlarged, so that they are less able to supply oxygen to the blood. Emphysema causes shortness of breath and painful coughing and can increase the likelihood of developing heart disease. Emphysema occurs most frequently in older men who have been heavy smokers.

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
Subcutaneous emphysema occurs when air gets into tissues under the skin.
Emphysema sufferers hoping for relief often face painful surgery that's more
  than their bodies can withstand.
The defendant suffers from emphysema and numerous other health complaints.
Pepper spray causes inflammation and swelling-particularly a danger for those
  with underlying asthma or emphysema.
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