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 In some counties, certain health conditions beyond what the state has specified merit eligibility; San Francisco, for example, is vaccinating anyone who is HIV-positive, and San Diego is vaccinating anyone with asthma or Type 1 diabetes. Colleen Shalby, Los Angeles Times, "A guide to getting the COVID-19 vaccine for Californians 50 and over. It all begins Thursday," 31 Mar. 2021 Five companies have won FDA approval for treatments and medicines for diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes. BostonGlobe.com, "FDA has been giving a green light to Massachusetts biotechs," 31 Mar. 2021 However, none of the most prominent national diabetes organizations help people access supplies and medication, although that is the most prevalent need in the community, Allie Marotta, an organizer with Mutual Aid Diabetes (MAD), tells SELF. Zoe Witt, SELF, "5 Insulin Facts That Diabetic Activists Wish Everyone Knew," 31 Mar. 2021 The Mach 1 money will go to the JDRF, which funds research into Type 1 diabetes and was formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, "2021 Ford Bronco First Edition, VIN 001, Auctioned for More Than $1 Million," 28 Mar. 2021 Those conditions include cancer, Down syndrome, pregnancy, kidney and heart disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes. NBC News, "Golden State Warriors get Covid-19 vaccinations ahead of most Californians," 26 Mar. 2021 Anyone who had high cholesterol or diabetes or was using medications was excluded from the study. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Apple cider vinegar and weight loss -- what the experts say," 24 Mar. 2021 That’s why controlling your blood sugar levels is so important in managing diabetes. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, "Announcer Blames Type 1 Diabetes For Making Racial Slur About Girls Basketball Team," 20 Mar. 2021 On Friday, the announcer blamed his actions on his diabetes. Li Cohen, CBS News, "High school announcer blames diabetes for racist remarks toward girls who kneeled during national anthem," 14 Mar. 2021

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.

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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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Time Traveler for diabetes

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

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Statistics for diabetes

Last Updated

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Diabetes.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diabetes. Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for diabetes



English Language Learners Definition of diabetes

medical : a serious disease in which the body cannot properly control the amount of sugar in your blood because it does not have enough insulin


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

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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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