kwash·​i·​or·​kor | \ ˌkwä-shē-ˈȯr-kər How to pronounce kwashiorkor (audio) , -ȯr-ˈkȯr How to pronounce kwashiorkor (audio) \

Definition of kwashiorkor

: severe malnutrition in infants and children especially of impoverished regions caused by a diet low in protein

First Known Use of kwashiorkor

1935, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kwashiorkor

Ga (Kwa language of coastal Ghana) kwàṣìɔkɔ́ influence a child is said to be under when a second child comes

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The first known use of kwashiorkor was in 1935

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Cite this Entry

“Kwashiorkor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for kwashiorkor


kwa·​shi·​or·​kor | \ ˌkwäsh-ē-ˈȯr-kȯr How to pronounce kwashiorkor (audio) , -ȯ(r)-ˈkȯr How to pronounce kwashiorkor (audio) \

Medical Definition of kwashiorkor

: severe malnutrition chiefly affecting young children especially of impoverished regions that is characterized by failure to grow and develop, changes in the pigmentation of the skin and hair, edema, fatty degeneration of the liver, anemia, and apathy and is caused by a diet excessively high in carbohydrate and extremely low in protein — compare pellagra

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