bar·​iat·​rics ˌber-ē-ˈa-triks How to pronounce bariatrics (audio)
plural in form but singular in construction
: a branch of medicine that deals with the treatment of obesity
Bariatrics is the branch of medicine dealing with obesity.Paul Jones
… the center has the resources to perform safe bariatric surgery, and has demonstrated excellent short and long-term outcomes with a full range of services dedicated to bariatrics.Ajay Goyal

Word History


bar- + -iatrics

Note: According to the blog ConscienHealth (, August 1, 2015, the word bariatrics was coined by the physician Raymond E. Dietz in 1961. The professional organization with which he was associated, formed as the National Obesity Society in 1950, later became the National Glandular Society, then the American College of Endocrinology and Nutrition, and the American Society of Bariatrics by 1963 (later the American Society of Bariatric Physicians, then the Obesity Medicine Association in 2015). The word bariatric can be found earlier in the name of a corporate entity, the Bariatric Corporation of Coral Gables, Florida, which introduced a weight reduction drug neo-barine in 1958 (withdrawn by order of the Food and Drug Administration in 1964). There appears to be no connection between the Bariatric Corporation and Raymond Dietz.

First Known Use

1963, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bariatrics was in 1963

Dictionary Entries Near bariatrics

Cite this Entry

“Bariatrics.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Medical Definition


noun, plural in form but singular in construction
bar·​iat·​rics ˌbar-ē-ˈa-triks How to pronounce bariatrics (audio)
: a branch of medicine that deals with the treatment of obesity
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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