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

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Other Words from idiopathic

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

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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 Research estimates that idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), which is just one of more than 200 types, affects one out of 200 adults over the age of 70 in the United States. Joyce S. Lee, Scientific American, "The Deadly Lung Disease You've Probably Never Heard Of," 3 Apr. 2021 The drug Insilico is developing is a potential therapy for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a rare condition that affects older adults in which the lungs become scarred for unknown reasons, making breathing increasingly difficult. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "Startup says A.I. helped it find treatment for rare lung disease in record time," 24 Feb. 2021 His lawyer and close friend Michael J. Shaheen said the cause was complications of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a stiffening of lung tissues that required Mr. Murray to breathe with the help of a portable oxygen tank. John Schwartz, New York Times, "Robert Murray, Coal Baron With Clout, Dies at 80," 27 Oct. 2020 Murray was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or coal miner pneumoconiosis, in July 2016 and had been battling the disease since, according to Shaheen and a statement by American Consolidated Natural Resources. Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN, "'King of the coal' Robert Murray dies at the age of 80," 26 Oct. 2020 An exact cause of death has not been announced, though in 2016 Murray was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, another lung disease common among coal miners. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Bob Murray Was Vicious to Both Workers and the Environment," 26 Oct. 2020 Elana, 36, was a teenager when she was diagnosed with immune thrombocytopenia, also known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura or ITP. Natasha Lavender, SELF, "Chronic ITP Affected My Path to Motherhood—And How I Birthed My Children," 30 Sep. 2020 Scientists in this study learned that the millimeters-long bone was more likely to be found in the hearts of chimpanzees suffering from a kind of heart disease called idiopathic myocardial fibrosis (IMF). Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Tiny, Rare Bone Found in the Hearts of Chimpanzees," 16 June 2020 This might sound surprising, but getting diagnosed with immune thrombocytopenia (also known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura or ITP) can come as a relief. Joni Sweet, SELF, "Chronic ITP Treatment: What You Need to Know," 3 Aug. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of idiopathic

1669, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for idiopathic

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The first known use of idiopathic was in 1669

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Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Idiopathic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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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

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