ery·​sip·​e·​las ˌer-ə-ˈsi-p(ə-)ləs How to pronounce erysipelas (audio)
: an acute febrile disease associated with intense edematous local inflammation of the skin and subcutaneous tissues caused by a hemolytic streptococcus

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Coley filled a syringe with living Streptococcus pyogenes, known to induce erysipelas attacks, and injected the solution directly into Zola’s tumor. Carl Engelking, Discover Magazine, 4 Apr. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'erysipelas.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English erisipila, from Latin erysipelas, from Greek, from erysi- (probably akin to Greek erythros red) + -pelas (probably akin to Latin pellis skin) — more at red, fell

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of erysipelas was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near erysipelas

Cite this Entry

“Erysipelas.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Medical Definition


er·​y·​sip·​e·​las ˌer-ə-ˈsip-(ə-)ləs, ˌir- How to pronounce erysipelas (audio)
: an acute febrile disease that is associated with intense often vesicular and edematous local inflammation of the skin and subcutaneous tissues and that is caused by a hemolytic streptococcus
: swine erysipelas
used especially when the disease affects hosts other than swine

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