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 Since people with albinism often have vision problems, the researchers hope the reptiles will help scientists better understand how albinism affects eye development. Roni Dengler, Discover Magazine, 28 Aug. 2019 So what's going on with this curious ruminant? Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, said the deer was born with partial albinism, a condition that limits the production of melanin, the pigment that colors skin, eyes and fur. The Enquirer, 18 Aug. 2023 Carlos Molina, a veterinarian at the zoo, believes that the snow white puma cub is one of only four pumas with albinism worldwide, per the outlet. David Chiu, Peoplemag, 24 Aug. 2023 While Amazon river dolphins, which are native to South America, are naturally pink in color, these two marine mammals were likely bottlenose dolphins with albinism. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 July 2023 Without genetic testing, it can’t be proven that Pinky has albinism, Dagmar Fertl, a marine mammal biologist, told KHOU in 2017. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 July 2023 At least 11 people were killed in Madagascar when police opened fire on a mob demanding that officials turn over to them four suspects held for allegedly kidnapping a child with albinism and killing the mother. Laetitia Bezain, ajc, 29 Aug. 2022 There's been an increase in options for makeup lovers with albinism, but Rhodes insists that brands and artists actually listen to individuals with albinism when creating their products. Taylyn Washington-Harmon,, 27 Apr. 2021 The findings were based studying people with albinism in equatorial Africa, which has the highest UV radiation exposure on the planet. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 26 Feb. 2014 See More

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 22 Sep. 2023.

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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