frost·​bite | \ˈfrȯs(t)-ˌbīt \
frostbit\ˈfrȯs(t)-​ˌbit \; frostbitten\ˈfrȯs(t)-​ˌbi-​tᵊn \; frostbiting\ˈfrȯs(t)-​ˌbī-​tiŋ \

Definition of frostbite 

(Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

: to affect or injure by frost or frostbite



Definition of frostbite (Entry 2 of 3)

: the superficial or deep freezing of the tissues of some part of the body (such as the feet or hands) also : the damage to tissues caused by freezing — compare frostnip



Definition of frostbite (Entry 3 of 3)

: done in cold weather frostbite sailing also : of or relating to cold-weather sailing frostbite sailors

Examples of frostbite in a Sentence


He wore gloves to prevent frostbite.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Ever since the 77-year-old musher lost a toe to frostbite on the Iditarod trail and froze several others, leaving them perpetually white and numb, his feet are quick to callus. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "The Iditarod gave this musher broken bones and frostbitten toes. At 77, he’s not ready to stop racing.," 5 Mar. 2018 Herr, himself a rock climber who lost both his legs to frostbite as a teen, describes his goal as nothing short of eliminating disability. Matthew Orr, STAT, "Pioneering surgery makes a prosthetic foot feel like the real thing," 30 May 2018 In 2012, Kuriki lost nine fingers to frostbite during an unsuccessful attempt to climb the mountain. Ashley May, USA TODAY, "He lost nine fingers to Everest. On his eighth attempt, Japanese climber lost his life," 21 May 2018 The Arctic temperatures are a constant and deadly enemy: Characters who touch ropes or metal without gloves get the skin ripped off their palms or lose their toes to frostbite. Asher Elbein, The Atlantic, "The Terror Is More Than a Chilling Monster Show," 1 May 2018 One man was transferred into Licton Springs Village last spring after losing two toes and a finger to frostbite. Scott Greenstone, The Seattle Times, "This tiny house village allows drugs. Should it have been put in a high drug-traffic area?," 24 Apr. 2018 And Fig, 50, who has been camping outdoors and has lost several fingertips to frostbite. Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "Where's the growing homeless population in Kansas' wealthiest county? Not in shelters | The Kansas City Star," 27 Mar. 2018 From freight rails to frostbite, a deep freeze can mean deep trouble for a city — and a species — built to operate at more temperate temperatures. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, "‘Not built for this’: What fails in the extreme cold? Just about everything.," 4 Jan. 2018 That chart calculates the wind child based on temperature and wind speeds, plus highlights how quickly someone can be exposed to frostbite. Lori Higgins, Detroit Free Press, "Will freezing temperatures close metro Detroit schools? Possibly," 3 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Working against them: temperatures far below zero, altitude sickness with effects that range from disorientation to death, and the ever-present threat of frostbite. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., The Seattle Times, "Mount Everest is a ‘fecal time bomb.’ Here’s one man’s idea for handling 14 tons of human waste.," 7 Aug. 2018 The interviews in Meru describe the mix of techniques required to shift between hiking and wall-climbing, and the potentially insurmountable obstacles: frostbite, hypoxia, running out of food, and so forth. Noel Murray, The Verge, "For sweaty palms and white knuckles, watch Free Solo in theaters and Meru on Netflix," 28 Sep. 2018 Five of the shutouts came in the early going against the Cubs, including three at Wrigley Field during a weekend series in which frostbite was more likely than a base hit. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Rather than worry about getting blanked again, Brewers give Matz credit for strong outing," 24 May 2018 In frigid temperatures such as the snow storm hitting the Northeast this week, frostbite can begin to develop in 30 seconds on exposed or underprotected skin. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "NWS: Hazardously low wind chills bite into Indianapolis weather," 16 Jan. 2018 Getting frostbite in temperatures of minus 30 degrees celsius, Elham says mental resilience is what nudged her through. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Throwing your skin into the wind: Houston tattoo shop plays with fate and a tattoo dartboard," 3 July 2018 On a subsequent try in 2011, his tent poles, supplies and cooking gas were dug up by Himalayan crows at his final camp, and in 2012, extreme cold and high winds ended his quest and left him with serious frostbite. Bard Wilkinson, CNN, "Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki dies on eighth Everest attempt," 21 May 2018 By the time the helicopter came, the team had run out of reserve oxygen and Pozdnii had frostbite on his hands and feet. Ash Routen, Outside Online, "A Climber Left $50,000 on the Top of Everest," 23 May 2018 By the end of the unsuccessful climb, his feet were numb with severe frostbite, requiring amputation. Binaj Gurubacharya,, "Australian climber scales seven peaks on seven continents in record time," 14 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

For instance, these missing-finger paintings show up even in warmer climates where people really shouldn’t be suffering from frostbite. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Ancient Humans May Have Practiced Ritual Finger Amputation," 5 Dec. 2018 It can be caused by a number of things including injury, infection, frostbite and deep vein thrombosis. Alexia Fernandez,, "Man Who Smelled So Bad a Plane Had to Make Emergency Landing Dies a Month Later of Necrosis," 27 June 2018 Kuriki's suffered serious damage from frostbite during his 2012 attempt on Everest's West Ridge, losing all but one of his fingers. Bard Wilkinson, CNN, "Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki dies on eighth Everest attempt," 21 May 2018 While living in a tent toward the end of his life, McCarthy said, her brother fell asleep with wet boots on and got frostbite on a very cold night, which led to the loss of all of his toes. Aleanna Siacon, Detroit Free Press, "Why this Traverse City homeless shelter lets alcoholics drink," 29 May 2018 It can be caused by a number of things, including injury, infection, frostbite and deep vein thrombosis. Alexia Fernandez, ajc, "A man smelled so bad a plane was diverted. Now, he’s dead from necrosis," 28 June 2018 It can be caused by a number of things, including frostbite, deep vein thrombosis, improperly treating a wound, or infection, the medical news site writes. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Russian rocker kicked off flight for odor dies of disease he called 'very smelly'," 28 June 2018 Xia Boyu, 70, first tried to reach the top in 1975 but lost both his legs in the process due to frostbite. Author: Gopal Sharma, Anchorage Daily News, "Australian who climbed Denali in April sets Seven Summits record on Everest," 14 May 2018 Slumped in his Beijing hospital bed in tatty ward-issue pajamas, the 69-year-old is a warren of aches and scuffs, and sports a whopping frostbite sore on each of his two cheeks. Charlie Campbell / Beijing, Time, "'I Hate It.' Double-Amputee Climber Xia Boyu Vows Never to Return to Everest," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'frostbite.' 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 frostbite


1574, in the meaning defined above


1798, in the meaning defined above


1941, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for frostbite

The first known use of frostbite was in 1574

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More Definitions for frostbite



English Language Learners Definition of frostbite

: a condition in which part of your body (such as your fingers or toes) freezes or almost freezes


frost·​bite | \ˈfrȯst-ˌbīt \

Kids Definition of frostbite

: slight freezing of a part of the body (as the feet or hands) or the damage to body tissues caused by such freezing


transitive verb
frost·​bite | \ˈfrȯs(t)-ˌbīt \
frostbit\-​ˌbit \; frostbitten\-​ˌbit-​ᵊn \; frostbiting\-​ˌbīt-​iŋ \

Medical Definition of frostbite 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: to affect or injure by frost or frostbite



Medical Definition of frostbite (Entry 2 of 2)

: the superficial or deep freezing of the tissues of some part of the body (as the feet or hands) also : the damage to tissues caused by freezing

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More from Merriam-Webster on frostbite

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with frostbite

Spanish Central: Translation of frostbite

Nglish: Translation of frostbite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of frostbite for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about frostbite

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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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