measles

noun

mea·​sles ˈmē-zəlz How to pronounce measles (audio)
plural in form but singular or plural in construction
1
a
: an acute contagious disease that is caused by a morbillivirus (species Measles morbillivirus) and is marked especially by an eruption of distinct red circular spots

called also rubeola

b
: any of various eruptive diseases (such as German measles)
2
[Middle English mesel infested with tapeworms, literally, leprous, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin misellus leper, from Latin, wretch, from misellus, diminutive of miser miserable] : infestation with or disease caused by larval tapeworms in the muscles and tissues

Examples of measles in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Though disease experts have expressed concern about the early rise in cases, the U.S. isn’t close to its total from 2019, when the country nearly lost its measles elimination status. Joe Murphy, NBC News, 27 Mar. 2024 Many countries, including Austria, the Phillippines, Romania and the United Kingdom are dealing with measles outbreaks, according to the government agency. Jonathan Limehouse, The Courier-Journal, 26 Mar. 2024 In Chicago, health officials are rushing to vaccinate community members amid a growing measles outbreak in the city's largest migrant shelter. USA TODAY, 21 Mar. 2024 Here’s What to Know About Symptoms. March 20, 2024 Because widespread measles outbreaks have been rare, most Americans, including doctors, may not recognize the vibrant red rash that accompanies respiratory symptoms in a measles infection. Apoorva Mandavilli, New York Times, 20 Mar. 2024 That led to a steep rise in measles cases around the globe. Brenda Goodman, CNN, 18 Mar. 2024 Most people will have no symptoms from measles infection for one to two weeks, Scaggs Huang said. The Enquirer, 15 Mar. 2024 Initial widespread measles vaccination had reduced measles cases by 99% compared to before the vaccine was available, and consequently, most people in the U.S. are unaware of the seriousness of this disease. Discover Magazine, 8 Mar. 2024 Diagnosing a measles infection can be challenging, especially in the early stages, Cerniglia said. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, 21 Mar. 2024

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English meseles, plural of mesel measles, spot characteristic of measles; akin to Middle Dutch masel spot characteristic of measles

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of measles was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near measles

Cite this Entry

“Measles.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/measles. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

measles

noun singular or plural
mea·​sles ˈmē-zəlz How to pronounce measles (audio)
: a contagious disease caused by a virus and marked by fever and red spots on the skin
also : any of several diseases (as German measles) that resemble measles

Medical Definition

measles

noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction
mea·​sles ˈmē-zəlz How to pronounce measles (audio)
1
a
: an acute contagious disease that is caused by a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus (species Measles morbillivirus), that commences with catarrhal symptoms, conjunctivitis, cough, and Koplik's spots on the oral mucous membrane, and that is marked by the appearance on the third or fourth day of an eruption of distinct red circular spots which coalesce in a crescentic form, are slightly raised, and after the fourth day of the eruption gradually decline

called also rubeola

b
: any of various eruptive diseases (as German measles)
2
: infestation with or disease caused by larval tapeworms in the muscles and tissues
specifically : infestation of cattle and swine with cysticerci of tapeworms that as adults parasitize humans compare measle

More from Merriam-Webster on measles

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