al·​bi·​nism ˈal-bə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce albinism (audio) al-ˈbī- How to pronounce albinism (audio)
: the condition of an albino
albinistic adjective

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An aberration occurring in humans and other vertebrates, albinism is an absence of pigment in the eyes, skin, hair, scales, or feathers caused by a genetic defect. Albino animals rarely survive in the wild because they lack the pigments that normally provide the protective coloration and a screen against the sun’s rays. Humans have long bred certain albino animals, such as rabbits, for their appearance. In humans with total albinism, the affected person has milk-white skin and hair; the iris of the eye appears pink and the pupil is red. Problems with vision are common in albinism. Total albinism occurs in all races in about one in 20,000 persons.

Examples of albinism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Last year, Wyoming’s Bear River State Park saw the birth of another white bison—this animal’s coloration likely comes from cattle genes mixed into its lineage rather than albinism or leucism, and its mother is also a pale white hue. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 June 2024 Two genetic variations, leucism and albinism, account for an unusually light-colored animal. Matthew Brown,, 16 June 2024 Directed by 22-year-old filmmaker Manohara K, the movie is based on the autobiography of Sonia S and tells the coming-of-age story of a 12-year-old girl with albinism. Mathew Scott, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2019 Susana Rodriguez Susana Rodriguez was born with albinism and a vision impairment that severely weakened her ability to see. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 22 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for albinism 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'albinism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from French albinisme, from albinos (noun and adjective) "albino" (borrowed from Spanish) + -isme -ism — more at albino entry 1

First Known Use

1836, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of albinism was in 1836

Dictionary Entries Near albinism

Cite this Entry

“Albinism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition


al·​bi·​nism ˈal-bə-ˌniz-əm How to pronounce albinism (audio) al-ˈbī- How to pronounce albinism (audio)
: the condition of an albino
albinistic adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on albinism

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