co·​ro·​na·​vi·​rus | \ kə-ˈrō-nə-ˌvī-rəs How to pronounce coronavirus (audio) \

Definition of coronavirus

: any of a family (Coronaviridae) of single-stranded RNA viruses that have a lipid envelope studded with club-shaped projections, infect birds and many mammals including humans, and include the causative agents of MERS and SARS

Examples of coronavirus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

On the buttons of the Helsinki Airport pharmacy’s payment terminal, 50 percent of samples tested positive for the rhinovirus or the human coronavirus. Martine Powers, The Seattle Times, "Those airport security bins carry more germs than the toilets, scientists say," 4 Sep. 2018 Scientists who went looking for those viruses in bats in China’s Guangdong and Yunnan provinces had found dozens that are closely related to the SARS coronavirus. Helen Branswell, STAT, "SARS-like outbreak among pigs rekindles concerns virus could again strike humans," 4 Apr. 2018 One gram of dog poop can contain up to 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, and dog poop is also a common carrier of whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, parvo, coronavirus, giardia, salmonella, cryptosporidium, and campylobacter. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "It’s Time to Talk About Dog Poop," 27 Mar. 2018 Last year, a few students showed up with flu but more had other viruses that cause similar symptoms, such as coronaviruses and respiratory syncytial virus or RSV. NBC News, "Sneeze machine study takes a deep dive into how flu spreads," 13 Feb. 2018 The viruses in the coronaviruses family, like MERS, cause a variety of illnesses. Noelia Trujillo, Woman's Day, "Alarming New SARS-Like Virus Takes More Lives," 29 May 2013 Katusabe has been studying a coronavirus found in all of the Kibale bats. Mark Johnson,, "The hunt for a future killer," 15 Dec. 2017 That virus is a coronavirus carried by camels that has infected about 2,100 people since it was discovered in 2012, and has killed about a third of them, according to the World Health Organization. Donald G. Mcneil Jr., New York Times, "A Federal Ban on Making Lethal Viruses Is Lifted," 19 Dec. 2017 In 2012, MERS coronavirus emerged from Saudi Arabia, stirring our concerns. National Geographic, "Why Zika Is This Year’s Scary Virus," 28 Jan. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coronavirus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of coronavirus

1968, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for coronavirus

corona + virus, later taken as New Latin

Note: 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."

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The first known use of coronavirus was in 1968

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co·​ro·​na·​vi·​rus | \ kə-ˈrō-nə-ˌvī-rəs How to pronounce coronavirus (audio) \

Medical Definition of coronavirus

: any of a family (Coronaviridae) of single-stranded RNA viruses that have a lipid envelope studded with club-shaped projections, infect birds and many mammals including humans, and include the causative agents of blue comb, feline infectious peritonitis, MERS, and SARS 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, 25 Mar. 2003 abbreviation CoV

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