id·​i·​o·​path·​ic | \ ˌi-dē-ə-ˈpa-thik How to pronounce idiopathic (audio) \

Definition of idiopathic

1 : arising spontaneously or from an obscure or unknown cause : primary idiopathic epilepsy
2 : peculiar to the individual

Other Words from idiopathic

idiopathically \ ˌi-​dē-​ə-​ˈpa-​thi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce idiopathic (audio) \ adverb

Did you know?

Idiopathic joins the combining form idio- (from Greek idios, meaning "one's own" or "private") with -pathic, a form that suggests the effects of disease. The combining form idio- is typically found in technical terms. Examples include idiographic, meaning "relating to or dealing with something concrete, individual, or unique"; idiolect, meaning "the language or speech pattern of one individual at a particular period of life"; and idiotype, meaning "the molecular structure and conformation of an antibody that confers its antigenic specificity." A more common idio- word is idiosyncrasy, which most commonly refers to an unusual way in which a person behaves or thinks, or to an unusual part or feature of something.

Examples of idiopathic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Biotech startup, launched in 2021, is pursuing a pipeline of precision medicines in oncology and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Mike Freeman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Feb. 2022 In 1986, then 20 years old, the single mother of two was diagnosed with idiopathic cardiomyopathy. Michael Roppolo, CBS News, 17 Sep. 2021 At the time of the surgery, Ms. Baisey, a single mother of two who lived in Washington’s Anacostia neighborhood, was dying of idiopathic cardiomyopathy; her heart was swollen and failing for undiagnosed reasons. Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2021 Vincent, 81, died on Wednesday in Horseshoe Bay, Texas, of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease. Joe Lapointe, Detroit Free Press, 31 Dec. 2021 More than a third of acute respiratory illnesses are idiopathic; the same is true for up to 40 percent of gastrointestinal disorders and more than half the cases of encephalitis (swelling of the brain). New York Times, 3 June 2021 The types associated with this cause include: sarcoidosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and acute interstitial pneumonia, among others. Korin Miller,, 24 Sep. 2021 This time, the music will benefit a cause near to Williams’ heart, the Breathless Campaign, which raises awareness and funds research to fight idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the disease that claimed his father, Bernabe Sr., in 2001. Dom Amore,, 26 Aug. 2021 Prominent Phoenix attorney Larry Debus, who was involved in several famous Arizona criminal cases spanning a decades-long career, died Sunday of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis at the age of 84. Brieanna J. Frank, The Arizona Republic, 18 Aug. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'idiopathic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of idiopathic

1669, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About idiopathic

Time Traveler for idiopathic

Time Traveler

The first known use of idiopathic was in 1669

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About idiopathic

Dictionary Entries Near idiopathic




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for idiopathic

Cite this Entry

“Idiopathic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for idiopathic


id·​io·​path·​ic | \ ˌid-ē-ə-ˈpath-ik How to pronounce idiopathic (audio) \

Medical Definition of idiopathic

: arising spontaneously or from an obscure or unknown cause : primary idiopathic epilepsy idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura

Other Words from idiopathic

idiopathically \ -​ˈpath-​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce idiopathic (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on idiopathic

Britannica English: Translation of idiopathic for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!