ma·​ras·​mus | \ mə-ˈraz-məs How to pronounce marasmus (audio) \

Definition of marasmus

: a condition of chronic undernourishment occurring especially in children and usually caused by a diet deficient in calories and proteins

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Other Words from marasmus

marasmic \ mə-​ˈraz-​mik How to pronounce marasmus (audio) \ adjective

Examples of marasmus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Funeral home records show Edith died from marasmus, or severe undernourishment. Matthias Gafni, The Mercury News, "Mystery solved! 19th-century girl in casket found under San Francisco house identified," 9 May 2017

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

First Known Use of marasmus

1574, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for marasmus

Late Latin, from Greek marasmos, from marainein to waste away

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Time Traveler for marasmus

Time Traveler

The first known use of marasmus was in 1574

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Cite this Entry

“Marasmus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for marasmus


ma·​ras·​mus | \ mə-ˈraz-məs How to pronounce marasmus (audio) \

Medical Definition of marasmus

: severe malnutrition affecting infants and children especially of impoverished regions that is characterized by poor growth, loss of subcutaneous fat, muscle atrophy, apathy, and pronounced weight loss and is usually caused by a diet deficient in calories and proteins but sometimes by disease (as dysentery or giardiasis)

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