hep·​a·​ti·​tis | \ˌhe-pə-ˈtī-təs \
plural hepatitides\ˌhe-​pə-​ˈti-​tə-​ˌdēz \ also hepatitises\ˌhe-​pə-​ˈtī-​tə-​səz \

Definition of hepatitis 

1 : inflammation of the liver

2 : a disease or condition (such as hepatitis A or hepatitis B) marked by inflammation of the liver

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Did You Know?

The liver, the body's largest gland, performs many important tasks, but is also vulnerable to many illnesses. At least five types of hepatitis, labeled with the letters A–E, are caused by viruses. The most common are hepatitis A, acquired through contaminated food and water; hepatitis B, which usually travels via sexual activity or shared needles; and hepatitis C, generally passed through shared needles. Some other types, including alcoholic hepatitis (caused by drinking too much alcohol), aren't infectious. There are vaccines for types A and B, and drug treatments for A, B, and C, though the drugs aren't always effective.

Examples of hepatitis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

She was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis, a condition indicating that the liver is inflamed, but her doctors didn’t know what was causing it. Korin Miller, SELF, "Turmeric Supplements May Have Caused This Woman's Liver Disease," 24 Sep. 2018 While in captivity, Betancourt was beaten, underfed and nearly died of hepatitis, amongst other abuses. Brynn Mannino, Woman's Day, "9 Miraculous Rescues," 4 Nov. 2010 Diseases such as hepatitis, malaria and tuberculosis are endemic in North Korea, where many people suffer from malnutrition, poor sanitation and a lack of vaccinations and high-quality medical care. Jonathan Cheng, WSJ, "U.S. Blocks Aid Workers From North Korea," 11 Oct. 2018 Chimps, due to their being the closest genetic relative to human beings, were for decades widely used in medical research studies in an effort to develop vaccines for a number of infectious diseases such as polio, hepatitis, HIV … the list is long. Rick Kogan, chicagotribune.com, "Lincoln Park Zoo partners with Chimp Haven — a place where chimps can get out of their lab cages and live free," 21 June 2018 One of those families is the picornavirus family, which is tied to the common cold, but also febrile illness, encephalitis, and a type of hepatitis. Megha Satyanarayana, STAT, "Drones are helping researchers figure out what viruses live in whales. Some are similar to ones in humans," 11 June 2018 The Situation Scientific findings have come quickly, connecting human microbiota to infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis, non-communicable ones like heart disease and cancer, and even psychiatric disorders such as autism and depression. Fortune, "Why Washing Your Hands Too Much Could Make You Sick," 12 June 2018 Children born after 1999 have been routinely vaccinated against hepatitis A. For adults, two doses of the vaccine spaced six months apart will provide lifelong protection from the virus. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan's hepatitis A outbreak is worst in U.S. What you need to know.," 27 May 2018 One was an analysis by the San Diego County grand jury on how the county and city handled the hepatitis outbreak. Michael Smolens, sandiegouniontribune.com, "The confluence of homelessness and hepatitis, again," 20 May 2018

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

circa 1751, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hepatitis

New Latin

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Statistics for hepatitis

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hepatitis

The first known use of hepatitis was circa 1751

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English Language Learners Definition of hepatitis

medical : a serious disease of the liver that causes fever and makes your skin and eyes yellow


hep·​a·​ti·​tis | \ˌhe-pə-ˈtī-təs \

Kids Definition of hepatitis

: a disease which is caused by a virus and in which the liver is damaged and there is yellowing of the skin and fever


hep·​a·​ti·​tis | \ˌhep-ə-ˈtīt-əs \
plural hepatitides\-​ˈtit-​ə-​ˌdēz \ also hepatitises\-​ˈtīt-​ə-​səz \

Medical Definition of hepatitis 

1 : inflammation of the liver

2 : a disease or condition (as hepatitis A or hepatitis B) marked by inflammation of the liver

Other Words from hepatitis

hepatitic \-​ˈtit-​ik \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on hepatitis

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hepatitis

Spanish Central: Translation of hepatitis

Nglish: Translation of hepatitis for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hepatitis for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hepatitis

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