my·​e·​li·​tis | \ ˌmī-ə-ˈlī-təs How to pronounce myelitis (audio) \
plural myelitides\ ˌmī-​ə-​ˈli-​tə-​ˌdēz How to pronounce myelitis (audio) \

Definition of myelitis

: inflammation of the spinal cord or of the bone marrow

Examples of myelitis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The condition Ardis referenced is called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, 16 Sep. 2021 One person developed transverse myelitis, a rare but potentially serious neurological condition. Helen Branswell, STAT, 8 Dec. 2020 In the lead-up to his exit from the group, Jordison was hospitalized in 2012 and was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, which impacted his legs. Jolie Lash,, 27 July 2021 Transverse myelitis can result from a number of causes that set off the body’s inflammatory responses, including viral infections, said Dr. Gabriella Garcia, a neurologist at Yale New Haven Hospital. Katie Thomas, New York Times, 8 Sep. 2020 After closely looking into the data, keeping in mind that transverse myelitis can be caused by a variety of factors not related to the vaccine, the FDA allowed AstraZeneca to continue its program. John Lamattina, Forbes, 12 Mar. 2021 The Center for Pediatric NeuroRecovery, which helps children with a spinal disorder known as acute flaccid myelitis that causes paralysis become stronger and regain some use of their limbs. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, 7 Apr. 2021 The New York Times had quoted a source saying a trial volunteer had transverse myelitis. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, 12 Sep. 2020 Models show the same pattern for enterovirus D68, and probably for acute flaccid myelitis too. Adam Rogers, Wired, 16 Mar. 2021

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

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First Known Use of myelitis

1835, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for myelitis

borrowed from New Latin (in German context), from Greek myelós "bone marrow" + New Latin -itis -itis — more at myelo-

Note: The word was apparently introduced by the German physician Christian Friedrich Harless (Harleß, in some of his publications Harles, 1773-1853) in "Valerian Aloys Brera über die Entzündung des Rückenmarks," Jahrbücher der teutschen Medicin und Chirurgie, 2. Band (1813), p. 244. Harless's essay purports to be a translation of "Della rachialgite - Cenni patologici" by the Italian physician Valeriano Luigi Brera (1772-1840), published in Atti dell'Accademia italiana di lettere, scienze, ed arti, tomo primo, parte prima, Livorno, 1810, pp. 247-76. Brera, however, uses only the word rachialgite for inflammation of the spinal chord, which Harless latinizes as Rhachialgitis. In a footnote introducing this word Harless adds: "Man könnte auch wohl, noch bezeichnender, für die Entzündung des Rückenmarks selbst den Namen Myelitis wählen, um so füglicher, weil μυελος bei Hippokrates, Galen, u.a. griech. Aertzen häufig ohne den Zusatz des Beiworts νωτιαιος (dorsalis) zur Bezeichnung des Rückenmarks gebraucht wird." ("One could as well also choose myelitis as a more aptly characterizing name for inflammation of the spinal marrow, the more justifiable because Hippocrates, Galen and other Greek physicians frequently used myelos without the addition of the modifying word nōtiaios (dorsalis [spinal]) as a designation for spinal marrow.")

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Time Traveler for myelitis

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The first known use of myelitis was in 1835

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Dictionary Entries Near myelitis

myelin sheath



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Last Updated

6 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Myelitis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for myelitis


my·​e·​li·​tis | \ ˌmī-ə-ˈlīt-əs How to pronounce myelitis (audio) \
plural myelitides\ -​ˈlit-​ə-​ˌdēz How to pronounce myelitis (audio) \

Medical Definition of myelitis

: inflammation of the spinal cord or of the bone marrow

Other Words from myelitis

myelitic \ -​ˈlit-​ik How to pronounce myelitis (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on myelitis Encyclopedia article about myelitis


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