ergotism

noun

er·​got·​ism ˈər-gə-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce ergotism (audio)
: a toxic condition produced by eating grain, grain products (such as rye bread), or grasses infected with ergot fungus or by chronic excessive use of an ergot drug

Examples of ergotism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For example, some scholars suggest that the people of Strasbourg contracted ergotism — a condition that can cause hallucinations, twitches, tremors, convulsions and incredible pain — from a fungus in their food. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 28 Oct. 2021 Doyle observed that ergotism results in the constriction of blood vessels, producing similar signs and symptoms as tabes dorsalis. Rebecca Kreston, Discover Magazine, 1 Dec. 2015 When consumed, ergotism poisoning could cause convulsions, hallucinations and other symptoms. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 27 Oct. 2022 Experts now know that those symptoms are common among people with convulsive ergotism, or ergot poisoning, which is caused by a fungus that can grow on wheat, rye, and other similar grains. Sarah Klein, Health.com, 2 Oct. 2017

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

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from French ergotisme, from ergot ergot + -isme -ism

First Known Use

circa 1841, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ergotism was circa 1841

Dictionary Entries Near ergotism

Cite this Entry

“Ergotism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ergotism. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition

ergotism

noun
er·​got·​ism ˈər-gət-ˌiz-əm How to pronounce ergotism (audio)
: a toxic condition produced by eating grain, grain products (as rye bread), or grasses infected with ergot fungus or by chronic excessive use of an ergot drug

More from Merriam-Webster on ergotism

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