monkeypox

noun

mon·​key·​pox ˈməŋ-kē-ˌpäks How to pronounce monkeypox (audio)
: a zoonotic disease especially of central and western Africa that is caused by a poxvirus (species Monkeypox virus of the genus Orthopoxvirus), that is transmitted in humans usually by direct contact with the infectious lesions or bodily fluids of an infected person or animal, and that causes initial symptoms including fever, headache, swollen lymph glands, myalgia, and fatigue followed by skin eruptions typically on the face, hands, feet, and mouth with lesions that eventually fill with fluid before sloughing off : mpox

Note: This disease was first identified in monkeys in 1958, although the natural reservoir (see reservoir sense 3a) has not been identified. The virus has been found in various animals including rodents and primates.

Note: The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on November 28, 2022 that it will begin using the name mpox to refer to this disease due to the stigmatizing nature of the original name.

Examples of monkeypox in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While the world is facing crisis after crisis, including COVID-19, the rising threat of monkeypox, global warming, and various other adversities, Black children are personally facing their own pandemic—an increasing rate of suicide and suicide attempts. Jazmin Towe, Parents, 27 Feb. 2024 Four states announce their first monkeypox deaths Monkeypox vaccine appears to be working, but CDC still urges precautions More In: Chicago Monkeypox Alexander Tin CBS News reporter covering public health and the pandemic. Alexander Tin, CBS News, 10 May 2023 The struggle to replace ‘monkeypox’ with a name that isn’t racist Aug. 26, 2022 As the infection curve flattened, so did demand for shots, health officials said. Christian Martinez, Los Angeles Times, 16 May 2023 This trick has been used to track the spread of COVID-19, the poliovirus, monkeypox virus, and norovirus, as well as to measure high-risk substance use in communities, such as fentanyl, xylazine, and other opioids. Bill Hanage, Fortune, 16 Oct. 2023 The struggle to replace ‘monkeypox’ with a name that isn’t racist Aug. 26, 2022 These early challenges may have helped the virus gain a foothold across the country. Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu, Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2023 But then came the eradication of smallpox, which had an unfortunate consequence with respect to monkeypox. Larry Brilliant, Foreign Affairs, 20 Dec. 2022 Four states announce their first monkeypox deaths More In: Monkeypox Alexander Tin CBS News reporter covering public health and the pandemic. Alexander Tin, CBS News, 15 May 2023 To help clear up some uncertainty about the illness, health agencies like the CDC have shared monkeypox pictures to inform you about the lesions at any stage of the disease. Julia Landwehr, Health, 21 June 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

1960, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of monkeypox was in 1960

Dictionary Entries Near monkeypox

Cite this Entry

“Monkeypox.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/monkeypox. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition

monkeypox

noun
mon·​key·​pox ˈməŋ-kē-ˌpäks How to pronounce monkeypox (audio)
: a zoonotic disease especially of central and western Africa that is caused by a poxvirus of the genus Orthopoxvirus (species Monkeypox virus), that is transmitted in humans usually by direct contact with the infectious lesions or bodily fluids of an infected person or animal, and that is typically characterized by flu-like symptoms followed one to four days later by skin eruptions on the face, mouth, and extremities with lesions that eventually fill with fluid before crusting over and sloughing off : mpox

Note: This disease was first identified in monkeys in 1958, although the natural reservoir (see reservoir sense 2a) has not been identified. The virus has been found in various animals including rodents and primates.

Note: The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on November 28, 2022 that it will begin using the name mpox to refer to this disease due to the stigmatizing nature of the original name.

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