leprosy

noun
lep·​ro·​sy | \ ˈle-prə-sē How to pronounce leprosy (audio) \

Definition of leprosy

1 : a chronic infectious disease caused by a mycobacterium (Mycobacterium leprae) affecting especially the skin and peripheral nerves and characterized by the formation of nodules or macules that enlarge and spread accompanied by loss of sensation with eventual paralysis, wasting of muscle, and production of deformities

called also Hansen's disease

2 : a morally or spiritually harmful influence

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Other Words from leprosy

leprotic \ le-​ˈprä-​tik How to pronounce leprotic (audio) \ adjective

Examples of leprosy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

At the age of 23, this African-American chemist developed the most effective treatment of leprosy during the early 20th century. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "32 Women Who’ve Changed Life As We Know It," 31 Mar. 2019 The risk of leprosy — now called Hansen’s disease — being imported from Latin America is similarly remote. Julia Belluz, Vox, "7 bad science and health ideas that should die with 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 Probably because Brazilian people have higher rates of leprosy, too, Spencer says. National Geographic, "Humans Gave Leprosy to Armadillos. Now, They’re Giving It Back," 28 June 2018 In Pará, the prevalence of leprosy in armadillos is more than three times higher. National Geographic, "Humans Gave Leprosy to Armadillos. Now, They’re Giving It Back," 28 June 2018 The Maricopa County clinic has served more than 100 leprosy patients over the decades; about 30 patients have received care there over the past 5 years. Ken Alltucker, azcentral, "Money for leprosy: Trump administration reverses budget cuts that jeopardized clinics," 10 May 2018 Among the questions that still linger is how leprosy spread across Europe in centuries past. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Did Leprosy Originate in Europe?," 14 May 2018 From leprosy villages, from HIV backgrounds; some have been trafficked, sometimes more than once. Allie Torgan, CNN, "From tourist to altruist, how a New Yorker embraced Vietnam," 10 May 2018 The story of Naaman, a Syrian noble who suffered from leprosy, is an example of receptiveness to learning from others. Glenna Christensen, idahostatesman, "True meekness requires self-mastery and strength, and doesn't equate to weakness," 14 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for leprosy

Middle English lepruse, from leprous

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Dictionary Entries near leprosy

leprosarium

leprose

leprosis

leprosy

leprous

lepry

-lepsy

Statistics for leprosy

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Time Traveler for leprosy

The first known use of leprosy was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for leprosy

leprosy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of leprosy

medical : a serious disease that causes painful rough areas on the skin and that badly damages nerves and flesh

leprosy

noun
lep·​ro·​sy | \ ˈlep-rə-sē How to pronounce leprosy (audio) \
plural leprosies

Medical Definition of leprosy

: a chronic infectious disease that is caused by a mycobacterium (Mycobacterium leprae), affects especially the skin and peripheral nerves, and is characterized by the formation of nodules or macules that enlarge and spread and are accompanied by loss of sensation with eventual paralysis, wasting of muscle, and production of deformities About 12 million people worldwide have leprosy, a disfiguring, chronic infection that damages nerves, skin, eyes, and mucous membranes.Harvard Health Letter, February 1998 The good news is that leprosy is relatively easy to diagnose and cure. It is caused by the microbe Mycobacterium leprae, which produces telltale symptoms of enlarged nerves and light-coloured patches of numb skin on a patient's face or extremities.— Bryn Nelson, New Scientist, 16 July 2005 Leprosy is actually the least infectious of the major communicable diseases.— Sandra Dallas, Business Week, 1 Mar. 1999 Leprosy … is progressive and causes the growth of widely distributed lumps on the skin and thickening of the skin and nerves. Severe cases are characterized by muscle weakness and paralysis.Insight, 22 Dec. 1986

called also hansenosis, Hansen's disease, lepra

— see lepromatous leprosy, tuberculoid leprosy

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More from Merriam-Webster on leprosy

Spanish Central: Translation of leprosy

Nglish: Translation of leprosy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of leprosy for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about leprosy

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