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 New York has a large population of low-income immigrant Chinese and Bangladeshis, who both have high rates of diabetes. Amy Yee, Scientific American, "COVID’s Outsize Impact on Asian Americans Is Being Ignored," 6 May 2021 They were engaged chiefly in the chemistry of medical diagnostics, particularly the detection of glucose in urine as an indicator of diabetes. Emily Langer, Washington Post, "Helen Murray Free, chemist who revolutionized diabetes testing, dies at 98," 5 May 2021 Bread and water diet to eliminate the risk of diabetes? Larry Neumeister, Star Tribune, "Prosecutors defend nightly sleep checks on Ghislaine Maxwell," 5 May 2021 The bacteria in your gut microbiome can be linked to conditions like inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), weight loss or gain, heart health, and risk of diabetes. Ola Faleti, chicagotribune.com, "Is black tea good for you?," 18 Apr. 2021 For instance, Apovian said, Black people may be at higher risk of diabetes at a lower BMI. BostonGlobe.com, "State’s new COVID-19 eligibility rules open the flood gates for people to seek vaccinations," 5 Apr. 2021 San Antonio, with its large Hispanic population, has some of the highest rates of diabetes and kidney disease in the country. Lauren Caruba, San Antonio Express-News, "COVID-19 one year later: What San Antonio's public health and medical experts have learned from the pandemic," 2 Apr. 2021 Not all forms of diabetes stem from a person being overweight or leading an inactive lifestyle, and some forms are developed during childhood. Megan Woodward, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "‘It’s very personable’: Live, Laugh, Hope nonprofit seeks to help children with chronic illnesses," 1 Apr. 2021 At a recent practice, Elia wore a T-shirt to memorialize a great uncle, Samala Poumele, who died on Feb. 1 of diabetes at 66. Jim Lindgren, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Steele Canyon senior Elia Kirisimasi leads by example," 1 Apr. 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

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Diabetes.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diabetes. Accessed 15 May. 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

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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