calenture

noun cal·en·ture \ ˈka-lən-ˌchu̇r \

Definition of calenture

: a fever formerly supposed to affect sailors in the tropics

calenture was our Word of the Day on 08/07/2011. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

In addition to being plagued by scurvy and homesickness, sailors of yore who dared the tropics also had calenture to worry about. Given a case of this fever they were likely to imagine that the sea was actually a green field and to leap into it. Our earliest evidence of the word in English is from the late 16th century. Such potent imagery destined the word for figurative use also. "Calenture" has its origins in a Spanish word of the same meaning, "calentura," which itself traces to Latin calēre, meaning "to be warm." Other words from "calēre" include "calorie," "cauldron," and "scald."

Origin and Etymology of calenture

Spanish calentura, from calentar to heat, from Latin calent-, calens, present participle of calēre to be warm — more at lee


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up calenture? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

allowing a liquid or gas to pass through

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu-jedi-training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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