meningitis

noun

men·​in·​gi·​tis ˌme-nən-ˈjī-təs How to pronounce meningitis (audio)
plural meningitides ˌme-nən-ˈji-tə-ˌdēz How to pronounce meningitis (audio)
: inflammation of the meninges and especially of the pia mater and arachnoid
specifically : a disease marked by inflammation of the meninges that is either a relatively mild illness caused by a virus (such as various Coxsackieviruses) or a more severe usually life-threatening illness caused by a bacterium (especially the meningococcus, Neisseria meningitides, or the serotype designated B of Haemophilus influenzae)

Note: Meningitis is often marked by fever, headache, vomiting, malaise, and stiff neck, and if left untreated in bacterial forms, may progress to confusion, stupor, convulsions, coma, and death.

meningitic adjective

Examples of meningitis in a Sentence

She was diagnosed with spinal meningitis.
Recent Examples on the Web The pending lawsuit also includes the family of a second child — Ryker Brown, of DeKalb, Illinois — who developed bacterial meningitis and brain damage in 2021 caused by a cronobacter infection after consuming Similac NeoSure formula. Jonel Aleccia, Fortune Well, 8 Dec. 2023 The bacteria is known to cause severe, and often fatal, meningitis and sepsis in newborns, according to the CDC. Wyatte Grantham-Philips, USA TODAY, 20 Mar. 2023 Viral meningitis rarely causes death, however, and is a lot less serious than bacterial meningitis. Rebecca A. Drummond, Fortune, 13 Jan. 2023 The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pfizer’s new vaccine to protect against five groups of deadly bacteria that can cause meningitis and blood poisoning. Staff Author, Verywell Health, 27 Oct. 2023 Fungal meningitis causes similar symptoms to bacterial meningitis but is much rarer in the UK. Rebecca A. Drummond, Fortune, 13 Jan. 2023 Symptoms mimic bacterial meningitis, with severe frontal headache, fever, nausea and vomiting being closely followed by a stiff neck, seizures, and coma. Cara Lynn Shultz, Peoplemag, 15 Sep. 2023 Fungal meningitis is not contagious and does not spread among people, but viral and bacterial meningitis can. Akshay Syal, M.d., NBC News, 12 June 2023 Anywhere from 1 to 5 in 100 people can develop meningitis from a polio infection. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, 12 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'meningitis.' 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

New Latin

First Known Use

1820, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of meningitis was in 1820

Dictionary Entries Near meningitis

Cite this Entry

“Meningitis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meningitis. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

meningitis

noun
men·​in·​gi·​tis ˌmen-ən-ˈjīt-əs How to pronounce meningitis (audio)
: a disease in which a membrane of the brain or spinal cord becomes inflamed

Medical Definition

meningitis

noun
men·​in·​gi·​tis ˌmen-ən-ˈjīt-əs How to pronounce meningitis (audio)
plural meningitides -ˈjit-ə-ˌdēz How to pronounce meningitis (audio)
: inflammation of the meninges and especially of the pia mater and the arachnoid
specifically : a disease marked by inflammation of the meninges that is either a relatively mild illness caused by a virus (such as various Coxsackieviruses) or a more severe usually life-threatening illness caused by a bacterium (especially the meningococcus, Neisseria meningitides, or the serotype designated B of Haemophilus influenzae)

Note: Meningitis is often marked by fever, headache, vomiting, malaise, and stiff neck, and if left untreated in bacterial forms, may progress to confusion, stupor, convulsions, coma, and death.

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