migraine

noun

mi·​graine ˈmī-ˌgrān How to pronounce migraine (audio)
 British often  ˈmē-
plural migraines
1
a
: a condition marked by recurring moderate to severe headache with throbbing pain that usually lasts from four hours to three days, typically begins on one side of the head but may spread to both sides, is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound, and is sometimes preceded by an aura and is often followed by fatigue
Migraine affects three times as many women as men.The Journal of the American Medical Association
About 20 percent of migraine sufferers experience an aura as the first symptom of an attack. The aura may be a pulsing star of light, or a dance of geometric forms across the visual field …Natalie Angier
b
: a condition that is a variant form of the typical migraine but in which headache is absent or not a prominent symptom:
(1)
: a condition in which an aura involving visual disturbances (such as diplopia, scotoma, or tunnel vision) is the main symptom and is not followed by headache

called also acephalgic migraine, silent migraine

(2)
: a condition that is marked by episodic bodily dysfunction (such as cyclic vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, vertigo, or unilateral weakness or paralysis) and may be accompanied by headache
abdominal migraine
vestibular migraine
In retinal migraine, repeated episodes of unilateral visual disorder occur with or without headache.Sid Gilman
2
: an episode or attack of migraine
Most patients use a class of drugs known as "triptans," to relieve occasional migraines. But triptans don't work for 20% to 30% of patients.Tara Parker-Pope
migrainous adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web But the next day, the migraine kicked up again—and the pain was ten times worse. Jessica Herndon, Essence, 18 Jan. 2023 Bottom Line: Highly concentrated magnesium makes for a more potent and effective dose for even the worst migraine or PMS symptoms. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 11 Oct. 2022 For some people, migraine triggers include certain foods, a lack of sleep, or stress. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, 16 Sep. 2022 Lifestyle changes are an important part of combatting migraine, Dan Henry said. Sofia Jeremias, The Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Dec. 2022 But Disney’s then-CEO forgot that the company has always been one, creating the migraine to end all headaches for the Burbank entertainment giant. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, 13 Dec. 2022 Mental illness and stress exacerbate all kinds of pain, such as chronic migraine headaches. Karen Weintraub, USA Today, 11 Dec. 2022 There isn’t much credible research on daith piercings and migraine. Julia Ries, SELF, 8 Dec. 2022 Avoiding the migraine that’s street parking in the Big Apple, however, may be priceless. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 5 Dec. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English mygreyn, from Middle French migraine, modification of Late Latin hemicrania pain in one side of the head, from Greek hēmikrania, from hēmi- hemi- + kranion cranium

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of migraine was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near migraine

Cite this Entry

“Migraine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/migraine. Accessed 1 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

migraine

noun
mi·​graine ˈmī-ˌgrān How to pronounce migraine (audio)
: a severe headache often restricted to one side of the head and accompanied by nausea and vomiting

Medical Definition

migraine

noun
mi·​graine
ˈmī-ˌgrān, British often ˈmē-
1
a
: a condition marked by recurring moderate to severe headache with throbbing pain that usually lasts from four hours to three days, typically begins on one side of the head but may spread to both sides, is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound, and is sometimes preceded by an aura and is often followed by fatigue

Note: Migraine tends to occur in more than one member of a family and is of uncertain origin though attacks appear to be associated with dilation of intracranial blood vessels and release of serotonin and other inflammatory substances.

Migraine is a common disorder that can severely affect patients' quality of life and daily function. The patients typically have attacks of unilateral, pulsating, severe or moderately severe headache aggravated by routine physical activity …The New England Journal of Medicine
About 20 percent of migraine sufferers experience an aura as the first symptom of an attack. The aura may be a pulsing star of light, or a dance of geometric forms across the visual field …Natalie Angier
2
b
: a condition that is a variant form of the typical migraine but in which headache is absent or not a prominent symptom:
(1)
: a condition in which an aura involving visual disturbances (as diplopia, scotoma, or tunnel vision) is the main symptom and is not followed by headache
Approximately 20% of migraineurs may experience acephalgic attacks of migraine at one time or another. Indeed, that various symptoms can occur in the absence of any headache has been noted for some time; in fact, visual phenomena were described as early as the 12th century.Donald M. Pedersen et al.

called also acephalgic migraine, silent migraine

(2)
: a condition that is marked by episodic bodily dysfunction (as cyclic vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, vertigo, or unilateral weakness or paralysis) and may be accompanied by headache
abdominal migraine
vestibular migraine
In retinal migraine, repeated episodes of unilateral visual disorder occur with or without headache.Sid Gilman
3
: an episode or attack of migraine
Most patients use a class of drugs known as "triptans," such as Imitrex, to relieve occasional migraines. But triptans don't work for 20% to 30% of patients.Tara Parker-Pope
Lynn Goldstein, a dietitian at Weill Cornell, advises patients to remove suspected "trigger" foods from their diet for a period of time and monitor how their migraines are affected.Food & Fitness Advisor

called also sick headache

migrainous adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on migraine

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