path·​o·​log·​i·​cal | \ˌpa-thə-ˈlä-ji-kəl \
variants: or less commonly pathologic \ ˌpa-​thə-​ˈlä-​jik \

Definition of pathological 

1 : of or relating to pathology pathological research A pathological examination led to the diagnosis.

2 : altered or caused by disease pathological changes in the body also : indicative of disease pathological symptoms

3 : being such to a degree that is extreme, excessive, or markedly abnormal a pathological liar pathological fear

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Other Words from pathological

pathologically \ ˌpa-​thə-​ˈlä-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Examples of pathological in a Sentence

He is a pathological liar. She has a pathological fear of heights. pathological changes in the body
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Recent Examples on the Web

Instead of being praised as a straight-shooter, I was called a gold-digger, a con artist, and a pathological liar. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Read Andrea Constand's Powerful Impact Statement About Bill Cosby," 25 Sep. 2018 Conversion Therapy Goes Underground In the face of mounting pressure from gay rights groups as well as evidence that being gay wasn’t pathological, the APA declassified homosexuality as a mental illness by removing it from the DSM in 1973. Chelsea Greenwood Lassman, Teen Vogue, "How Gay Conversion Therapy Came to Be, and How It Persists Today," 7 Aug. 2018 In 2012, the European Medicines Agency required that Abilify be labeled with a special warning, noting the post-market reports of pathological gambling. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Blockbuster drug Abilify nears Judgment Day over compulsive gambling, sex," 3 Aug. 2018 But then or now, that doesn’t mean that the people who pursue those activities are necessarily pathological. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Why Is There a ‘Gaming Disorder’ But No ‘Smartphone Disorder?’," 28 June 2018 Research to date shows that pathological gamblers and drug addicts share many of the same genetic predispositions for impulsivity and reward seeking. Ferris Jabr, Scientific American, "How the Brain Gets Addicted to Gambling," 14 May 2018 The long oil boom that started at nearby Spindletop bequeathed Houston a freewheeling spirit and a pathological suspicion of zoning laws. The Economist, "Demography is not destinyBuilding a multiracial coalition is more difficult than it seems," 12 July 2018 The principle of the deal is that the move is not solely about money - Ronaldo is a rich enough man - but the respect and worth that the money would symbolise, for a player who above all has a pathological need to be wanted and valued., "Juventus 'Begin' Stunning €120m Cristiano Ronaldo Move With Real Madrid Prepared to Negotiate," 3 July 2018 Consequently, some researchers assume that problematic gaming might share some of the same neurobiological mechanisms as pathological gambling and substance dependence. Melissa Healy, ajc, "World Health Organization says video game addiction is a disease," 20 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pathological.' 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 pathological

1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

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The first known use of pathological was in 1656

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English Language Learners Definition of pathological

: extreme in a way that is not normal or that shows an illness or mental problem

medical : relating to or caused by disease

: of or relating to the study of diseases : relating to pathology


patho·​log·​i·​cal | \ˌpath-ə-ˈläj-i-kəl \
variants: also pathologic \ -​ik \

Medical Definition of pathological 

1 : of or relating to pathology a pathological laboratory

2 : altered or caused by disease pathological tissue also : indicative of disease pathological lesions

Other Words from pathological

pathologically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

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Comments on pathological

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by force of circumstances

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