fe·​brile | \ ˈfe-ˌbrī(-ə)l also ˈfē- How to pronounce febrile (audio) \

Definition of febrile

: marked or caused by fever : feverish a febrile reaction caused by an allergy

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Did You Know?

Not too surprisingly, febrile originated in the field of medicine. We note its first use in the work of the 17th-century medical reformer Noah Biggs. Biggs used it in admonishing physicians to care for their "febrile patients" properly. Both feverish and febrile are from the Latin word for fever, which is febris. Nowadays, febrile is used in medicine in a variety of ways, including references to such things as "the febrile phase" of an illness. And, like feverish, it also has an extended sense, as in "a febrile emotional state."

Examples of febrile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

All but his most febrile enemies will concede his cunning, determination, and stamina, and, in a slightly rabble-rousing way, his panache. Conrad Black, National Review, "Trump’s Only Real Weakness Is His Style," 11 Sep. 2019 There was always going to be a febrile atmosphere after Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked Queen Elizabeth II last month to suspend Parliament for five weeks. NBC News, "British Parliament shut down involves robes, Black Rod and flamingos," 10 Sep. 2019 That was the febrile atmosphere on July 4th, when British marines abseiled onto the deck of the Grace 1 in Gibraltarian waters. The Economist, "What Britain’s release of an Iranian tanker says about its post-Brexit foreign policy," 22 Aug. 2019 Farke's biggest challenge is to balance his team's inherently febrile DNA with defensive solidity fit for the Premier League. SI.com, "The Biggest Challenges Facing the Premier League's Newest Managers This Season," 16 Aug. 2019 Such is today’s fragmented and febrile European politics. The Economist, "Does Ursula von der Leyen have the right skills for the EU Commission?," 18 July 2019 Vaccines administered during this interval may increase the risk of fever, and therefore febrile seizures, because the vaccines rev up the immune system to mount a better immune response. Tara Haelle, Scientific American, "Delaying Vaccines Increases Risks--with No Added Benefits," 2 June 2014 Tshapenda sees this security as necessary: a consequence of the large number of attacks on Ebola response workers in such febrile territory. Sally Hayden, Time, "Inside the Battle to Save Congo From the Ebola Crisis," 19 June 2019 Hambidge says evidence shows the immune system may still be maturing during the second year of life, and febrile seizures caused by viruses naturally peak around 16 to 18 months. Tara Haelle, Scientific American, "Delaying Vaccines Increases Risks--with No Added Benefits," 2 June 2014

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

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First Known Use of febrile

1651, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for febrile

Medieval Latin febrilis, from Latin febris fever

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Last Updated

26 Sep 2019

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The first known use of febrile was in 1651

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More Definitions for febrile



English Language Learners Definition of febrile

medical : including or caused by fever


fe·​brile | \ ˈfeb-ˌrīl also ˈfēb-\

Medical Definition of febrile

: marked or caused by fever : feverish

More from Merriam-Webster on febrile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with febrile

Britannica English: Translation of febrile for Arabic Speakers

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fear of the number 13

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