noun Pathology.
inflammation of the substance of the brain.
Also called encephalitis lethargica [li-thahr-ji-kuh] . a form of this condition, caused by a filterable virus and characterized by apathy and abnormal sleepiness; sleeping sickness.

1835–45; encephal- + -itis

encephalitic [en-sef-uh-lit-ik] , adjective
postencephalitic, adjective
pseudoencephalitic, adjective
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World English Dictionary
encephalitis (ˌɛnsɛfəˈlaɪtɪs, ˌɛnkɛf-)
inflammation of the brain

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Word Origin & History

1843, by influence of Fr. encéphalite, from Gk. enkephalos, from en- "within" + kephale "head" + -itis.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

encephalitis en·ceph·a·li·tis (ěn-sěf'ə-lī'tĭs)
n. pl. en·ceph·a·lit·i·des (-lĭt'ĭ-dēz)
Inflammation of the brain. Also called cephalitis.

en·ceph'a·lit'ic (-lĭt'ĭk) adj.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
encephalitis   (ěn-sěf'ə-lī'tĭs)  Pronunciation Key 
Inflammation of the brain, usually caused by infection with a virus.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
encephalitis [(en-sef-uh-leye-tis)]

An inflammation of the brain. Encephalitis may be caused by a virus or lead poisoning, or it may be a complication of another disease, such as influenza or measles. Encephalitis can cause permanent brain damage or death. It is also possible, however, to recover from it completely.

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
Arboviruses are a leading cause of viral encephalitis throughout the world.
Researchers thought that encephalitis caused some subtle neurological deficit
  that could not be medically detected.
Vaccinations also cause encephalitis, brain damage, paralysis and epilepsy.
In that instance, two infants developed encephalitis as complications from
  measles and died.
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