cor·​ti·​co·​ste·​roid | \ ˌkȯr-ti-kō-ˈstir-ˌȯid also -ˈster- How to pronounce corticosteroid (audio) \

Definition of corticosteroid

: any of various steroid hormones (such as cortisol, cortisone, or aldosterone) that are produced by the adrenal cortex (see cortex sense 1(a)1) from cholesterol also : any of various synthetic derivatives (such as prednisone or dexamethasone) of these steroid hormones that are used as drugs

Note: Corticosteroids are classified according to their physiological activity as glucocorticoids, which chiefly regulate carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism, and mineralocorticoids, which chiefly regulate electrolyte and fluid balance in the body. Androgens (such as androstenedione) are also produced by the adrenal cortex and are sometimes classified as corticosteroids.

Examples of corticosteroid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

NSAIDs, corticosteroids, and applying warmth or cold may offer relief, as can drugs meant to impede how quickly your RA is progressing, the Mayo Clinic says. Korin Miller, SELF, "Here’s What It Means If Your Knee Just Won’t Stop Popping," 23 Sep. 2018 Another drug that may help is dexamethasone, the CDC says, a corticosteroid that will rapidly decrease the brain swelling involved here. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What Exactly Is Altitude Sickness?," 20 Dec. 2018 Other drugs, like corticosteroids, can tamp down on corneal inflammation that exacerbates dry eye. Korin Miller, SELF, "This Is Why Your Eyes Get So Damn Dry—and How to Fix It," 14 Aug. 2018 To treat atopic dermatitis, experts will often recommend topical corticosteroids to battle inflammation, the Mayo Clinic says, but these can be too strong on your delicate eyelid skin. Korin Miller, SELF, "Here’s Exactly What to Do About Eczema on Your Eyelid," 3 July 2018 Your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid cream, ointment, or oral medication to help keep inflammation and itching at bay during flare-ups, the Mayo Clinic says. Korin Miller, SELF, "What Causes Eczema, Anyway?," 13 July 2018 During an actual flare, your doctor might recommend certain medications to help control itching and repair your skin, including a corticosteroid cream or ointment, the Mayo Clinic says. Korin Miller, SELF, "6 Eczema Symptoms You Should Bring Up With Your Derm," 15 June 2018 Zilretta, which received Food and Drug Administration approval in October, treats pain as a corticosteroid is gradually released from tiny globes known as microspheres. Brian Gormley, WSJ, "The Heated Quest for Opioid Alternatives," 25 May 2018 Lobotomies for ulcerative colitis, and for mental illness, were halted in the late 1950s because of outrage at the barbarity of the procedure and the emergence of new drugs — antipsychotics for mental illness and corticosteroids for colitis. Jim Carrier, STAT, "Lobotomies were once used to treat this gut disease, part of a shameful medical history," 12 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of corticosteroid

1944, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about corticosteroid

Statistics for corticosteroid

Last Updated

20 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for corticosteroid

The first known use of corticosteroid was in 1944

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for corticosteroid


cor·​ti·​co·​ste·​roid | \ ˌkȯrt-i-kō-ˈsti(ə)r-ˌȯid also -ˈste(ə)r-\

Medical Definition of corticosteroid

: any of various adrenal-cortex steroids (as corticosterone, cortisone, and aldosterone) that are divided on the basis of their major biological activity into glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids

More from Merriam-Webster on corticosteroid Encyclopedia article about corticosteroid

Comments on corticosteroid

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


highly pertinent or appropriate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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