Definition of febrile
: marked or caused by fever : feverish a febrile reaction caused by an allergy
febrile was our Word of the Day on 04/13/2015. Hear the podcast!
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."
Origin and Etymology of febrile
Medieval Latin febrilis, from Latin febris fever
First Known Use: 1651
FEBRILE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of febrile for English Language Learners
medical : including or caused by fever
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