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 There are high hopes for Medtronic’s most advanced insulin pump system – MiniMed 780G – to drive its diabetes sales in the future. Trefis Team, Forbes, 19 May 2022 Bishop said he and other Adventures with Purpose divers worked with Amabile's family to retrace Amabile's steps the morning of his disappearance, including putting together how he may have been affected by his diabetes. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, 22 Mar. 2022 This money will help the center provide remote monitoring devices to some of these patients so that the providers can help keep their diabetes in check. Jen Christensen, CNN, 14 Feb. 2022 Almost half of those people—more than 10 million—could attribute their diabetes to a family history of the condition. SELF, 9 Feb. 2022 Throughout the series, the character grapples with her diabetes and the expectations of caring for herself. Washington Post, 29 Dec. 2021 That change alone could affect the more than three million Medicare beneficiaries who take the drug to manage their diabetes. New York Times, 1 Dec. 2021 Collier said one of the side effects of her diabetes is leg pain, for which her doctor sent her to a specialist. NBC News, 6 Nov. 2021 Outcomes for his diabetes treatment were disappointing, and one case ended tragically. The New Yorker, 25 Oct. 2021 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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diabetes insipidus

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Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Diabetes.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diabetes. Accessed 23 May. 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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