al·​gid | \ ˈal-jəd How to pronounce algid (audio) \

Definition of algid

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Algid is a rather cold and lonely word, etymologically speaking-it's the only word in any of the dictionaries we publish that comes from the Latin word algēre, meaning "to feel cold." Also, English speakers have warmed to its many synonyms-among them "cold," "frigid," "arctic," "chill"-much more readily than they've taken to "algid." Even its compatriot, "gelid"-also a Latin-derived adjective that can describe ice and arctic temperatures-has managed to outpace it in most decades of the approximately 400 years the words have been in use. In one context, though, "algid" does something its synonyms don't: it describes a severe form of malaria that is marked by prostration, cold and clammy skin, and low blood pressure-a meaning that probably hasn't done much to endear the more general use to speakers of English.

Examples of algid in a Sentence

the rescuers searching the algid waters of the Bering Sea

First Known Use of algid

circa 1623, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for algid

Latin algidus, from algēre to feel cold

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Time Traveler for algid

Time Traveler

The first known use of algid was circa 1623

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Cite this Entry

“Algid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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al·​gid | \ ˈal-jəd How to pronounce algid (audio) \

Medical Definition of algid

: marked by prostration, cold and clammy skin, and low blood pressure used chiefly of a severe form of malaria

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