her·​pes | \ ˈhər-(ˌ)pēz How to pronounce herpes (audio) \

Definition of herpes

: any of several inflammatory diseases of the skin caused by herpesviruses and characterized by clusters of vesicles especially : herpes simplex

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Other Words from herpes

herpetic \ (ˌ)hər-​ˈpe-​tik How to pronounce herpetic (audio) \ adjective

Examples of herpes in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Your doctor could take a blood sample to look for the presence of herpes antibodies. Sophie Saint Thomas, SELF, "Here’s Why Doctors Don’t Usually Test for Herpes," 10 May 2019 This actually happens often in children who first encounter a herpes simplex or varicella zoster virus somewhere like the playground. Kasandra Brabaw, SELF, "So, You Got Semen in Your Eye. Here's What to Do," 1 Mar. 2019 This is because there is no cure for herpes, though there is treatment to manage the symptoms. Amy Marturana, SELF, "5 STDs You Can Have Without Knowing It," 28 Dec. 2018 However, regardless of people's misunderstanding of the STD, herpes is completely manageable and so common. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "What Is Herpes and How Do I Know if I Have It?," 11 Dec. 2018 Social Stigma Direct health impacts aren’t the only reason scientists are so urgently looking for a herpes cure. Becky Little, Smithsonian, "Can We Gene-Edit Herpes Away?," 23 Mar. 2018 Pam Belluck at The New York Times reports that two new studies show a relationship between two types of herpes viruses and the development of Alzheimer’s. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Childhood Virus May Have a Role in Alzheimer’s Disease," 23 June 2018 Just under half, 48 percent, of people aged 14 to 49 have herpes simplex 1, HSV-1, commonly known as the cold sore virus. Maggie Fox /, NBC News, "Half of Americans have cold sore virus; 12 percent genital herpes," 7 Feb. 2018 In the new study, the researchers noted that herpes viruses were involved in networks that regulate these amyloid precursor proteins. Fiza Pirani, ajc, "Herpes virus may be linked to Alzheimer’s, study suggests," 22 June 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for herpes

Latin, from Greek herpēs, from herpein to creep — more at serpent

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Time Traveler for herpes

The first known use of herpes was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for herpes



English Language Learners Definition of herpes

: a disease that causes painful spots on the skin


her·​pes | \ ˈhər-(ˌ)pēz How to pronounce herpes (audio) \

Medical Definition of herpes

: any of several inflammatory diseases of the skin caused by herpesviruses and characterized by clusters of vesicles especially : herpes simplex

More from Merriam-Webster on herpes

Spanish Central: Translation of herpes

Nglish: Translation of herpes for Spanish Speakers

Comments on herpes

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food or victuals

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