cowpox

noun

cow·​pox ˈkau̇-ˌpäks How to pronounce cowpox (audio)
: a mild eruptive disease of the cow that is caused by a poxvirus (species Cowpox virus of the genus Orthopoxvirus) and that when communicated to humans protects against smallpox

Examples of cowpox in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Vaccines were first discovered as an effective way to prevent viral infections 227 years ago when Edward Jenner, an English physician, used liquid from a cowpox lesion to create an injectable material that prevented the symptoms of smallpox, according to the study. Irene Wright, Miami Herald, 7 Feb. 2024 Jenner was not really the first doctor to make this observation about cowpox. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 26 Aug. 2022 But researchers consider those cowpox cases illustrative of the ways infections can cross from the wild world into the human one: in a virus’s home range through close exposure and hunting or far from its original territory, thanks to accidental importation and the exotic-animal trade. Wired, 5 Aug. 2022 In his original publication on cowpox inoculation, Jenner suggested that cowpox originated in horses, as a disease known as horsepox or grease, and only later spread to cows. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 June 2021 The practice of deliberately infecting healthy people to test vaccines dates to 1796 when Jenner, the English physician, inoculated an eight-year-old boy with cowpox and then tested its effectiveness against smallpox by infecting him with the disease. Laura Parker, National Geographic, 16 Sep. 2020 Monkeypox is in the same family of viruses that includes variola virus, which causes smallpox; vaccinia virus, used in the smallpox vaccine; and cowpox virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 20 May 2022 Francisco Oller, chief surgeon of the Royal Military Hospital, had learned that English physician Edward Jenner discovered that cowpox could be used as a vaccine matter, and that a doctor in St. Thomas had been using it as a defense against the spread of the virus. Jim Downs, STAT, 23 June 2022 Scientists classify monkeypox as part of the orthopoxvirus family, which also includes camelpox, cowpox, smallpox and varicella (aka chickenpox). Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 8 June 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1798, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cowpox was in 1798

Dictionary Entries Near cowpox

Cite this Entry

“Cowpox.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cowpox. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

cowpox

noun
cow·​pox ˈkau̇-ˌpäks How to pronounce cowpox (audio)
: a mild disease of the cow that is caused by a virus and that when passed on to human beings produces a temporary rash and protects against smallpox

Medical Definition

cowpox

noun
cow·​pox ˈkau̇-ˌpäks How to pronounce cowpox (audio)
: a mild eruptive disease of the cow that is caused by a poxvirus of the genus Orthopoxvirus (species Cowpox virus) and that when communicated to humans protects against smallpox

called also variola vaccinia

More from Merriam-Webster on cowpox

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