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[tahy-fuh s] /ˈtaɪ fəs/
noun, Pathology
an acute, infectious disease caused by several species of Rickettsia, transmitted by lice and fleas, and characterized by acute prostration, headache, and a peculiar eruption of reddish spots on the body.
Also called typhus fever.
1635-45; < New Latin < Greek tŷphos vapor
Related forms
typhous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for typhus
  • They say that the soldiers died because of typhus and hunger.
  • The pesticide, which killed insects that spread typhus and malaria, was almost certainly instrumental in saving millions of lives.
  • The animals harbor the lice and fleas that spawn serious diseases such as typhus, trichinosis, and infectious jaundice.
  • Other wild animal disease donors include rats, the source of the plague and typhus.
  • But the main diseases are cholera, typhus and other insect and water born diseases.
  • Thousands of inmates had already died from cholera, typhus and smallpox.
  • Doctors suggested it might be cholera or typhus, or perhaps it was dengue fever or botulism.
  • The term typhus fever refers to three different diseases: epidemic, scrub, and murine typhus.
  • When you have had typhus or malaria, you can get sick from the disease without warning and without being near any carriers.
British Dictionary definitions for typhus


any one of a group of acute infectious rickettsial diseases characterized by high fever, skin rash, and severe headache Also called typhus fever
Derived Forms
typhous, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from New Latin tӯphus, from Greek tuphos fever; related to tuphein to smoke
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 typhus

acute infectious fever, 1785, from Modern Latin (De Sauvages, 1759), from Greek typhos "stupor caused by fever," literally "smoke," from typhein "to smoke," related to typhos "blind," typhon "whirlwind," ultimately origin unknown. The disease so called from the prostration that it causes.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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typhus in Medicine

typhus ty·phus (tī'fəs)
Any of several forms of infectious disease caused by Rickettsia, especially those transmitted by fleas, lice, or mites, and characterized generally by severe headache, sustained high fever, depression, delirium, and the eruption of red rashes on the skin. Also called camp fever, prison fever.

ty'phous (-fəs) 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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typhus in Science
Any of several forms of an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Rickettsia transmitted by fleas, mites, or especially lice, and characterized by severe headache, high fever, and skin rash. Louse-born bacteria that cause typhus are especially virulent and can cause epidemics of the disease, which may be fatal in people with weakened immune systems.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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typhus in Culture
typhus [(teye-fuhs)]

A group of acute and contagious diseases, often fatal, marked by severe headaches and high fever. Typhus is transmitted to humans by fleas, lice, or mites that are infected with the microorganism that causes the disease.

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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