glan·​ders | \ ˈglan-dərz How to pronounce glanders (audio) \

Definition of glanders

: 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.

First Known Use of glanders

1523, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for glanders

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

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The first known use of glanders was in 1523

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Cite this Entry

“Glanders.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for glanders


noun plural but singular or plural in construction
glan·​ders | \ -dərz How to pronounce glanders (audio) \

Medical Definition of glanders

: 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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