calenture

noun
cal·​en·​ture | \ ˈka-lən-ˌchu̇r How to pronounce calenture (audio) \

Definition of calenture

: a fever formerly supposed to affect sailors in the tropics

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."

First Known Use of calenture

1582, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for calenture

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about calenture

Time Traveler for calenture

Time Traveler

The first known use of calenture was in 1582

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about calenture

Statistics for calenture

Cite this Entry

“Calenture.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/calenture. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Comments on calenture

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!