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[in-fek-shuh n] /ɪnˈfɛk ʃən/
an act or fact of infecting; state of being infected.
an infecting with germs of disease, as through the medium of infected insects, air, water, or clothing.
an infecting agency or influence.
an infectious disease:
Is this infection very dangerous?
the condition of suffering an infection.
corruption of another's opinions, beliefs, moral principles, etc.; moral contamination.
an influence or impulse passing from one to another and affecting feeling or action.
Grammar. (in Celtic languages) assimilation in which a vowel is influenced by a following vowel or semivowel; umlaut.
Origin of infection
1350-1400; Middle English infeccio(u)n < Late Latin infectiōn- (stem of infectiō). See infect, -ion
Related forms
noninfection, noun
postinfection, adjective
preinfection, noun
reinfection, noun
subinfection, noun
Can be confused
infection, inflection. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for infection
  • Nocardia infection is a rare disorder affecting the lungs, brain, or skin.
  • The puss may indicate an infection in the cyst as well.
  • They wonder what benefit they could bring, especially given the obvious risks of infection and reduced fertility.
  • Scientists have discovered a tiny, one-celled parasite that causes a grisly and fatal infection in krill.
  • As long as someone has a fever, they have the possibility to transmit infection.
  • Apparently it's morphing into a sinus infection if you don't beat it back within the first week.
  • Nearly half of those buried here were children, who often suffered from anemia and were vulnerable to infection.
  • Sinusitis refers to inflammation of the sinuses that occurs with a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection.
  • As the tiny particles are inhaled, they get into the lungs and can start an infection.
  • What would be interesting would be the hospital staff's ability to fight off infection once acquired.
British Dictionary definitions for infection


invasion of the body by pathogenic microorganisms
the resulting condition in the tissues
an infectious disease
the act of infecting or state of being infected
an agent or influence that infects
persuasion or corruption, as by ideas, perverse influences, etc
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 infection

late 14c., "infectious disease; contaminated condition;" from Old French infeccion "contamination, poisoning" (13c.) and directly from Late Latin infectionem (nominative infectio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin inficere (see infect). Meaning "communication of disease by agency of air or water" (distinguished from contagion, which is body-to-body communication), is from 1540s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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infection in Medicine

infection in·fec·tion (ĭn-fěk'shən)

  1. Invasion by and multiplication of pathogenic microorganisms in a bodily part or tissue, which may produce subsequent tissue injury and progress to overt disease through a variety of cellular or toxic mechanisms.

  2. An instance of being infected.

  3. An agent or a contaminated substance responsible for one's becoming infected.

  4. The pathological state resulting from having been infected.

  5. An infectious disease.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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infection in Science
The invasion of the body of a human or an animal by a pathogen such as a bacterium, fungus, or virus. Infections can be localized, as in pharyngitis, or widespread as in sepsis, and are often accompanied by fever and an increased number of white blood cells. Individuals with immunodeficiency syndromes are predisposed to certain infections. See also infectious disease, opportunistic infection.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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infection in Culture

infection definition

Invasion of the body or a body part by a pathogenic organism, which multiplies and produces harmful effects on the body's tissues.

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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