al·​bi·​nism | \ ˈal-bə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce albinism (audio) , al-ˈbī- How to pronounce albinism (audio) \

Definition of albinism

: the condition of an albino

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Other Words from albinism

albinistic \ ˌal-​bə-​ˈni-​stik How to pronounce albinism (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

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 In this coming-of-age memoir, Talusan takes the reader on a journey of her life — from a precocious child with albinism in the Philippines to a Harvard scholarship student and eventually a transgender activist and writer. Lamar Dawson, NBC News, "The 20 best LGBTQ books to gift this holiday season," 13 Dec. 2020 As for albinism, in which animals are unable to produce any kind of pigment—hence their pink eyes—there are only two records of such cougars, Hunter says: one at a zoo and one wild animal treed by hunters in the western United States. Christine Dell'amore, Animals, "Extremely rare white cougar highlights a quirk of the species," 3 Dec. 2020 Unlike albinism, animals with leucism continue to produce a dark pigment in their soft tissue, meaning the giraffe's eyes are dark. Eoin Mcsweeney, CNN, "World's only known white giraffe gets fitted with a tracking device," 17 Nov. 2020 This is different from albinism which causes a complete loss of pigment, leaving animals completely white with red or pink eyes. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Exceedingly Rare White Sea Turtle Hatches From South Carolina Nest," 21 Oct. 2020 Leucism is different from albinism, in which a creature is all white, with pink eyes, according to the press release. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Rare white killer whale – one of only a handful ever recorded – spotted in Alaska," 20 Aug. 2020 Caused by a mutation in the whale’s DNA, leucism is different from albinism, in which a creature is all white with pink eyes. Anchorage Daily News, "Rare white orca spotted in Southeast Alaska," 14 Aug. 2020 Ruthie Weiss, 13, was born with oculocutaneous albinism, a genetic disorder impairing her vision that could theoretically be addressed by CRISPR. Katie Hafner, Star Tribune, "Gene editing is a looming reality," 30 July 2020 Unlike animals with albinism, animals with leucism may continue to produce dark pigments in the soft tissues and eyes—hence the mother giraffe and her calves had dark eyes and dark tail hair, according to Live Science’s Brandon Specktor. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, "Two Rare White Giraffes Killed by Poachers in Kenya," 12 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'albinism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of albinism

1836, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for albinism

Time Traveler

The first known use of albinism was in 1836

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Statistics for albinism

Cite this Entry

“Albinism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for albinism


al·​bi·​nism | \ ˈal-bə-ˌniz-əm How to pronounce albinism (audio) , al-ˈbī- How to pronounce albinism (audio) \

Medical Definition of albinism

: the condition of an albino

Other Words from albinism

albinistic \ ˌal-​bə-​ˈnis-​tik How to pronounce albinism (audio) \ adjective

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