elephantiasis

play
noun el·e·phan·ti·a·sis \ˌe-lə-fən-ˈtī-ə-səs, -ˌfan-\

Definition of elephantiasis

plural

elephantiases

play \ˌe-lə-fən-ˈtī-ə-ˌsēz, -ˌfan-\
  1. 1 :  enlargement and thickening of tissues (as from chronic lymphedema); specifically :  the enormous enlargement of a limb or the scrotum caused by obstruction of lymphatic vessels by filarial worms (especially Wuchereria bancrofti)

  2. 2 :  an undesirable usually enormous growth, enlargement, or overdevelopment elephantiasis of the imagination

elephantiasis was our Word of the Day on 05/09/2010. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of elephantiasis from the Web

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Did You Know?

In Latin elephantiasis referred to a kind of leprosy in which the skin takes on the appearance of an elephant's hide. The word is still used in the medical field for various infectious skin diseases in which the affected part becomes grossly enlarged. The first known figurative use of "elephantiasis" is by English author George Meredith in a letter dated December 22, 1866. In that letter, he ribs an acquaintance for his exaggerated description of the size of a mackerel, telling him that he has "become the victim of a kind of mental elephantiasis."

Origin and Etymology of elephantiasis

New Latin, from Latin, a kind of leprosy, from Greek, from elephant-, elephas


Medical Dictionary

elephantiasis

play play
noun el·e·phan·ti·a·sis \ˌel-ə-fən-ˈtī-ə-səs, -ˌfan-\

Medical Definition of elephantiasis

plural

elephantiases

\-ˌsēz\play
  1. :  enlargement and thickening of tissues (as from chronic lymphedema); specifically :  the enormous enlargement of a limb or the scrotum caused by obstruction of lymphatics by filarial worms of the genus Wuchereria (W. bancrofti) or a related genus (Brugia malayi)

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