small poxes

Cultural Dictionary

smallpox definition


An acute and infectious disease caused by a virus and now almost completely eradicated. Smallpox was characterized by high fever and large sores on the body that leave scars.

Note: A surface with many blemishes is sometimes said to be “pockmarked” because it resembles the skin of a smallpox sufferer.
Note: Smallpox is the first disease of humans to be completely eradicated by a worldwide campaign of inoculation.
Note: Today, the smallpox virus exists only in laboratories.
Note: The use of smallpox is a major concern in the area of bioterrorism.
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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