: any of a family (Coronaviridae) of large single-stranded RNA viruses that have a lipid envelope studded with club-shaped spike proteins, infect birds and many mammals including humans, and include the causative agents of MERS, SARS, and COVID-19
Coronaviruses can cause a variety of illnesses in animals, but in people coronaviruses cause one-third of common colds and sometimes respiratory infections in premature infants.—Rob Stein
… in 2003 a previously unknown coronavirus caused an outbreak of SARS in humans.—Ali Moh Zaki et al.
Italy has seen the most coronavirus cases in Europe, with more than 2,000 people ill and 76 deaths associated with COVID-19. —Dayton (Ohio) Daily News
Examples of coronavirus in a Sentence
Recent Examples on the WebToday, there is a soup of different coronavirus variants causing illness and the most common ones are fairly close relatives.—Lauran Neergaard, al, 9 Sep. 2023 The university’s use of the courts ballooned during the coronavirus pandemic.—Casey Tolan, CNN, 8 Sep. 2023 The humanitarian and economic crisis it’s spurred has compounded the aftershocks of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in neighboring countries like Poland.—Christopher Vourlias, Variety, 8 Sep. 2023 In recent years, more families have signed up for the program, in part due to expansions that occurred at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.—Grace Segers, The New Republic, 8 Sep. 2023 Higher rates of coronavirus transmission are leading to more COVID-19 outbreaks in L.A. County, with nursing homes, schools and worksites reporting increases in recent weeks.—oregonlive, 7 Sep. 2023 The rate at which reported coronavirus tests are coming back positive is up statewide — to 14%.—Rong-Gong Lin Ii, Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2023 America is in the midst of a police officer shortage that many in law enforcement blame on the twofold morale hit of 2020 — the coronavirus pandemic and criticism of police that boiled over with the murder of George Floyd by a police officer.—Trisha Ahmed, Fortune, 6 Sep. 2023 The implementation has been plagued by administrative hurdles, delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and staffing changes.—Miles Moffeit, Dallas News, 6 Sep. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'coronavirus.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
The word was introduced by a group of virologists as a short article "Coronaviruses" in the "News and Views" section of Nature (vol. 220, no. 5168, November 16, 1968, p. 650): "… avian infectious bronchitis virus has a characteristic electron microscopic appearance resembling, but distinct from, that of myxoviruses. Particles are more or less rounded in profile … there is also a characteristic 'fringe' of projections 200 Å long, which are rounded or petal shaped, rather than sharp or pointed, as in the myxoviruses. This appearance, recalling the solar corona, is shared by mouse hepatitis virus … . In the opinion of the eight virologists these viruses are members of a previously unrecognized group which they suggest should be called the coronaviruses, to recall the characteristic appearance by which these viruses are identified in the electron microscope."
Coronaviruses can cause a variety of illnesses in animals, but in people coronaviruses cause one-third of common colds and sometimes respiratory infections in premature infants.—Rob Stein, The Washington Post