pap·​il·​lo·​ma·​vi·​rus ˌpa-pə-ˈlō-mə-ˌvī-rəs How to pronounce papillomavirus (audio)
: any of a family (Papillomaviridae) of viruses that contain a single molecule of circular double-stranded DNA and cause papillomas in mammals compare human papillomavirus

Examples of papillomavirus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Human papillomavirus can cause deadly cervical cancer as well as vaginal, anal and penile cancer. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 4 Feb. 2023 Initially, researchers thought the warts of those involved with the slaughtering or butchering of cows were a result of a bovine papillomavirus (BPV), seemingly infected by the virus in a direct cow-to-human transfer. Rebecca Kreston, Discover Magazine, 17 Oct. 2011 Those fun, fleshy skin growths caused by papillomavirus. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 25 Aug. 2017 Human papillomavirus, for example, retains traces of its ancient emigration. Carl Zimmer, Discover Magazine, 17 Aug. 2012 Its human-papillomavirus vaccine, Gardasil, is growing sales at an impressive clip, bringing in over $3 billion in the first half of this year alone. David Wainer, WSJ, 24 Aug. 2022 Cottontail rabbits with the unusual appearance are infected with Shope papilloma virus (SPV), also known as the cottontail rabbit papillomavirus (CRPV), a wart-like condition that affects the species. Chloe Gonzales, USA TODAY, 15 July 2022 Many had lesions on their feet, which veterinarians have identified as a papillomavirus — from the same viral family that gives humans warts but is unique to northern fulmars. Susanne Rust, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Jan. 2022

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

Word History


New Latin

First Known Use

1935, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of papillomavirus was in 1935

Dictionary Entries Near papillomavirus

Cite this Entry

“Papillomavirus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


pap·​il·​lo·​ma·​vi·​rus ˌpap-ə-ˈlō-mə-ˌvī-rəs How to pronounce papillomavirus (audio)
capitalized : the sole genus in a family (Papillomaviridae) of double-stranded DNA viruses that contain a single molecule of DNA, have a capsid composed of 72 capsomers, and cause papillomas in mammals
: any of the genus Papillomavirus of double-stranded DNA viruses

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