dys·​pnea ˈdis(p)-nē-ə How to pronounce dyspnea (audio)
: difficult or labored respiration
dyspneic adjective

Examples of dyspnea in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Relative lack of dyspnea (shortness of breath) Symptoms Symptoms of COVID-19 pneumonia are generally similar to other forms of pneumonia. Korin Miller, Health, 28 Nov. 2023 But dyspnea is a medical emergency, after all, so in many cases there was simply no time for that last call, or anyone available to arrange it. Zeynep Tufekci, The Atlantic, 9 July 2020 In severe cases, the novel coronavirus can cause labored breathing (dyspnea), which progresses into acute respiratory distress in critical cases. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, 1 May 2020 There are three major reasons people feel a sense of dyspnea, or labored breathing, Moss said. Fox News, 28 Apr. 2020 The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) seen in patients receiving Opdivo were fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, cough, dyspnea, and decreased appetite. Rachel Reiff Ellis, Woman's Day, 17 Mar. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dyspnea.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Latin dyspnoea, borrowed from Greek dýspnoia, from dýspnoos, dýspnous "short of breath" (from dys- dys- + -pnoos, nominal ablaut derivative from the base of pnéō, pneîn "to breathe") + -ia -ia entry 1 — more at sneeze entry 1

First Known Use

circa 1681, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dyspnea was circa 1681

Dictionary Entries Near dyspnea

Cite this Entry

“Dyspnea.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dyspnea. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


dys·​pnea ˈdis(p)-nē-ə How to pronounce dyspnea (audio)
: difficult or labored breathing

Medical Definition


variants or chiefly British dyspnoea
: difficult or labored respiration compare eupnea
dyspneic adjective
or chiefly British dyspnoeic

More from Merriam-Webster on dyspnea

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!