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[roo-muh-tiz-uh m] /ˈru məˌtɪz əm/
noun, Pathology
any disorder of the extremities or back, characterized by pain and stiffness.
1595-1605; < Latin rheumatismus catarrh, rheum < Greek rheumatismós, equivalent to rheumat- (stem of rheûma; see rheum) + -ismos -ism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rheumatism
  • Sufferers of arthritis and rheumatism are treated with mud packs made from the sea bottom.
  • He contracted rheumatism in the hands during the war and was discharged for disabilities.
  • The prices are good as the belief is that it cures ailments such as arthritis and rheumatism.
British Dictionary definitions for rheumatism


any painful disorder of joints, muscles, or connective tissue Compare arthritis, fibrositis
Word Origin
C17: from Latin rheumatismus catarrh, from Greek rheumatismos; see rheum
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for rheumatism

c.1600, from Late Latin rheumatismus, from Greek rheumatismos, from rheumatizein "suffer from the flux," from rheuma "a discharge from the body" (see rheum). "The meaning of a disease of the joints is first recorded in 1688, because rheumatism was thought to be caused by an excessive flow of rheum into a joint thereby stretching ligaments" [Barnhart].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rheumatism in Medicine

rheumatism rheu·ma·tism (rōō'mə-tĭz'əm)

  1. Any of several pathological conditions of the muscles, tendons, joints, bones, or nerves, characterized by discomfort and disability.

  2. Rheumatoid arthritis.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for rheumatism

any of several disorders that have in common inflammation of the connective tissues, especially the muscles, joints, and associated structures. The most common symptoms are pain and stiffness. Specific diseases that are alternatively called rheumatism include rheumatoid arthritis (q.v.); rheumatic fever (q.v.); septic arthritis (q.v.) that accompanies such diseases as gonorrhea, tuberculosis, or mycotic diseases (caused by fungus); and osteoarthritis (q.v.).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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