di·​a·​be·​tes | \ ˌdī-ə-ˈbē-tēz How to pronounce diabetes (audio) , -ˈbē-təs How to pronounce diabetes (audio) \

Definition of diabetes

: any of various abnormal conditions characterized by the secretion and excretion of excessive amounts of urine especially : diabetes mellitus

Examples of diabetes in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web During the separation, J.M. developed severe chest pains and breathing problems and, after the separation, his mother, M.S.E., developed diabetes and high blood pressure, the lawsuit says. José Ignacio Castañeda Perez, The Arizona Republic, 29 July 2022 Similarly, an eye exam can help spot early signs of chronic conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and high cholesterol. The Salt Lake Tribune, 26 July 2022 The Emmy winner, who worked on Jay Leno's first comedy special Jay Leno and the American Dream and The Dennis Miller Show, passed away on July 9 at his home after a long battle with diabetes and end-stage renal failure, according to Deadline. Stephanie Wenger, PEOPLE.com, 25 July 2022 While this region of the U.S. has higher rates of risk factors associated with stroke—like high blood pressure and diabetes—the higher mortality rate is still not completely understood. al, 24 July 2022 The study’s estimate, which covered 2017 and 2018, didn’t include other costs related to diabetes care, such as glucose monitors, insulin pumps or other medications. Berkeley Lovelace Jr., NBC News, 24 July 2022 In her late 50s, Duarte suffers from multiple advanced heart and lung ailments, as well as diabetes and hypertension. Steve Lopezcolumnist, Los Angeles Times, 23 July 2022 Approved in the 1990s for treating diabetes, and since then prescribed to millions of people around the world, metformin has long been linked to longer, healthier lifespans. Megan Molteni, STAT, 23 July 2022 Expectant mothers who don’t get prenatal care — especially those with chronic and untreated diseases who are also exposed to stressful environments and even malnutrition — run the risk of developing gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Eli Cahan, Rolling Stone, 23 July 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of diabetes

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for diabetes

Middle English diabet, diabete, borrowed from Late Latin diabētēs, borrowed from Greek diabḗtēs, from diabē-, variant stem of diabaínein "to stride, walk or stand with legs apart, step across, cross over" (from dia- dia- + baínein "to step, walk") + -tēs, suffix of agency — more at come entry 1

Note: The literal sense of Greek diabḗtēs in relation to the base verb diabaínein is not entirely clear. The Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia (active ca. 130-40 A.D.), author of a detailed description of diabetes mellitus (in Book 2 of De causis et signis diuturnorum morborum), takes the name of the disorder as a given, and explains it as a particular application of the word diabḗtēs, the meaning of which he seems to regard as self-evident. It has been assumed that he alludes to diabḗtēs in the sense "siphon," referring to frequent urination, as if liquid was being drawn out of the sufferer by a siphon. In the following clause, however, he maintains that moisture (tò hygrón) does not stay in the body but leaves it "as if by a diabáthrē ("hókōs diabáthrēi")." The word diabáthra (Ionic diabáthrē)—also a derivative of diabaínein—has various attested meanings: "ladder," "gangway," "bridge." The suggestion has been made that "bridge" or "channel" is the most appropriate sense, though the mixing of metaphors is perhaps an indication that the text is corrupt, or that some no longer recoverable sense of the word is in play. (See discussion in Chalmers L. Gemmill, "The Greek concept of diabetes," Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, vol. 48, no. 8 [September, 1972], pp. 1033-36.)

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The first known use of diabetes was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near diabetes



diabetes insipidus

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Last Updated

3 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Diabetes.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diabetes. Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for diabetes


di·​a·​be·​tes | \ ˌdī-ə-ˈbē-tēz How to pronounce diabetes (audio) , -ˈbē-təs \

Kids Definition of diabetes

: a disease in which too little or no insulin is produced or insulin is produced but cannot be used normally resulting in high levels of sugar in the blood


di·​a·​be·​tes | \ ˌdī-ə-ˈbēt-ēz How to pronounce diabetes (audio) , -ˈbēt-əs How to pronounce diabetes (audio) \
plural diabetes

Medical Definition of diabetes

: any of various abnormal conditions characterized by the secretion and excretion of excessive amounts of urine especially : diabetes mellitus

More from Merriam-Webster on diabetes

Nglish: Translation of diabetes for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of diabetes for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about diabetes


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