differential diagnosis


: the distinguishing of a disease or condition from others presenting with similar signs and symptoms

Examples of differential diagnosis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Later that night, they were told that their MRI was canceled as doctors would be doing a differential diagnosis instead. Georgia Slater, Peoplemag, 27 Apr. 2023 Accurate differential diagnosis is essential not just for getting patients care, but also for furthering medical understanding of a still-obscure condition. WIRED, 2 Sep. 2022 Human cystericosis of the breast is rare, nevertheless, this should be considered as a differential diagnosis for amass in the breast particularly in the tropics and developing countries. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 14 June 2016 The new leading differential diagnosis has been Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a progressive neuromuscular disease in which the muscles slowly waste away, leading to paralysis and sensory numbness in adulthood. Rebecca Kreston, Discover Magazine, 30 Mar. 2016 Supernumerary nipple should be considered in the differential diagnosis of a vulvar mass. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 5 May 2017 More often, though, differential diagnosis is a long, sometimes discouraging, process that involves interrogating multiple explanations for each symptom. WIRED, 2 Sep. 2022 But with no diagnostic criteria—except the minor’s statement—there is no differential diagnosis. Elliot Kaufman, WSJ, 23 Aug. 2022 Physicians and historians of medicine have long bickered over a differential diagnosis of Tiny Tim’s unspecified illness, with guesses ranging from cerebral palsy to rickets to renal tubal acidosis. Natalie Shure, The New Republic, 20 Dec. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'differential diagnosis.' 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

1829, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of differential diagnosis was in 1829

Dictionary Entries Near differential diagnosis

Cite this Entry

“Differential diagnosis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differential%20diagnosis. Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition

differential diagnosis

: the distinguishing of a disease or condition from others presenting similar symptoms

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