chilblain

noun

chil·​blain ˈchil-ˌblān How to pronounce chilblain (audio)
: an inflammatory swelling or sore caused by exposure (as of the feet or hands) to cold

Did you know?

Given that chilblains are caused by exposure to cold conditions, it may not surprise you to know that the first element of this word comes from the noun chill. The second element, blain, may be less familiar, though the word blain ("an inflammatory swelling or sore") is still used by English speakers. Both elements of chilblain have Anglo-Saxon roots. Chill comes from Old English ciele ("frost" or "chill"), which is akin to ceald, an Old English ancestor of the modern cold. Blain comes from Old English blegen (of the same meaning as blain). These two words were first brought together (as the compound chyll blayne) in the 1500s.

Examples of chilblain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web No one knows exactly why the new coronavirus might cause chilblain-like lesions. Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times, 1 May 2020 While drawing blast furnaces, coal tipples, coke ovens and other industrial structures, the 41-year-old artist suffered chilblains, a condition that causes hands and feet to itch and turn red or blue. Marylynne Pitz, The Seattle Times, 25 Dec. 2017 Seri is said to have a medical issue which gives him chilblains (painful skin inflammation) in cold weather, and is averse to moving to a cold country. SI.com, 15 Aug. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chilblain.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

chill entry 1

First Known Use

1547, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chilblain was in 1547

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Dictionary Entries Near chilblain

Cite this Entry

“Chilblain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chilblain. Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

chilblain

noun
chil·​blain ˈchil-ˌblān How to pronounce chilblain (audio)
: redness and swelling sometimes with itching and burning especially of the toes, fingers, nose, and ears caused by being exposed to cold

Medical Definition

chilblain

noun
chil·​blain ˈchil-ˌblān How to pronounce chilblain (audio)
: an inflammatory swelling or sore caused by exposure (as of the feet or hands) to cold

called also pernio

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