glan·​ders ˈglan-dərz How to pronounce glanders (audio)
plural in form but singular or plural in construction
: a highly contagious and life-threatening disease of horses and other equines (such as donkeys and mules) or sometimes other animals (such as dogs, cats, or goats) that is caused by a bacterium (Burkholderia mallei synonym Pseudomonas mallaei), is characterized especially by fever, cough, nodular lesions that tend to rupture and ulcerate, enlarged lymph nodes, and nasal discharge, and may be transmitted from infected animals to people

Note: Glanders may occur as an infection of the skin, lungs, upper respiratory tract, or bloodstream. Chronic glanders progresses slowly over a period of years before death while acute glanders typically leads to death within a week or two following the onset of symptoms.

Examples of glanders in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In 1915, Germany initiated attempts to sabotage Allied troops by spreading anthrax and glanders among horses. Claas Kirchhelle, Wired, 11 Mar. 2022 One of the earliest biowarfare scares took place a century ago, in 1920, when news hit of an alleged plot by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to disseminate typhoid and glanders among British troops in Dublin. Claas Kirchhelle, Wired, 11 Mar. 2022 In it, an anonymous source discussed spreading typhoid via milk among British troops stationed in Dublin and infecting horses with glanders. Claas Kirchhelle, Wired, 11 Mar. 2022

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

Word History


Middle French glandre glandular swelling on the neck, from Latin glandulae, from plural of glandula, diminutive of gland-, glans

First Known Use

1523, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of glanders was in 1523

Dictionary Entries Near glanders

Cite this Entry

“Glanders.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


singular or plural noun
glan·​ders ˈglan-dərz How to pronounce glanders (audio)
: an infectious often fatal bacterial disease especially of horses

Medical Definition


noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction
glan·​ders -dərz How to pronounce glanders (audio)
: a contagious and destructive disease especially of horses caused by a bacterium of the genus Burkholderia (B. mallei synonym Pseudomonas mallei) and characterized by caseating nodular lesions especially of the respiratory mucosae, lungs, and skin that tend to break down and form ulcers

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