\ ˈkō-vid-nīn-ˈtēn How to pronounce COVID-19 (audio) \

Definition of COVID-19

: a mild to severe respiratory illness that is caused by a coronavirus (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 of the genus Betacoronavirus), is transmitted chiefly by contact with infectious material (such as respiratory droplets), and is characterized especially by fever, cough, and shortness of breath and may progress to pneumonia and respiratory failure

Note: COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

An infectious and deadly coronavirus that has killed thousands in China has spread to at least 44 countries, stirring fears that COVID-19 may soon become a pandemic.— Darryl Coote As the number of confirmed global cases of COVID-19 continues to climb, analysts are beginning to forecast that the impact of the epidemic will stretch into the second quarter of 2020, which will likely impact the earnings of companies …— Georgia Williams

called also coronavirus disease 2019

— see sars-cov-2

First Known Use of COVID-19

2020, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for COVID-19

coronavirus disease 2019

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about COVID-19

Time Traveler for COVID-19

Time Traveler

The first known use of COVID-19 was in 2020

See more words from the same year

Statistics for COVID-19

Last Updated

16 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“COVID-19.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.

Comments on COVID-19

What made you want to look up COVID-19? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

March 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • field of crocuses
  • Which is a synonym of rectitudinous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!