len·​ti·​vi·​rus ˌlen-tə-ˈvī-rəs How to pronounce lentivirus (audio)
: any of a genus (Lentivirus) of retroviruses (such as the HIVs and SIV) that cause slowly progressive often fatal human and animal diseases (such as AIDS)

Examples of lentivirus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In an instant, the lentivirus timeline stretched, and in the years since has kept growing. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 21 Sep. 2022 Once there, scientists will treat the cells with Bluebird’s gene therapy, made from a lentivirus that shuttles the beta-globin gene into the cells. Ryan Cross, BostonGlobe.com, 17 Aug. 2022 In 2016 a team led by Ewelina Mamcarz, a bone marrow transplant specialist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, launched a trial for SCID-X1 using a lentivirus (a virus related to HIV) as a vector. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, 18 Oct. 2021 Another type of gene-delivering virus, or vector, has been implicated in cancers in clinical trials, but never a lentivirus. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, 11 Aug. 2021 Sen’s team tested its existing material on a different coronavirus strain that causes a respiratory illness in pigs and on an unrelated type of pathogen called a lentivirus. Rachel Crowell, Scientific American, 24 June 2020 Given that the transmissions between the cat species are so frequent, the lentivirus may eventually mutate enough to find the mountain lions habitable, but so far that hasn’t happened despite many opportunities. Quanta Magazine, 13 Sep. 2017 VandeWoude studies lentiviruses — a type of retrovirus that includes HIV — in mountain lions and bobcats. Quanta Magazine, 13 Sep. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lentivirus.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin, from Latin lentus slow + New Latin virus

First Known Use

1979, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lentivirus was in 1979

Dictionary Entries Near lentivirus

Cite this Entry

“Lentivirus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lentivirus. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


len·​ti·​vi·​rus ˈlen-tə-ˌvī-rəs How to pronounce lentivirus (audio)
capitalized : a genus of single-stranded RNA viruses (as HIV and SIV) of the family Retroviridae that cause progressive often fatal human and animal diseases (as AIDS, equine infectious anemia, and ovine progressive pneumonia)
: any virus of the genus Lentivirus
lentiviral adjective
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