path·​o·​log·​i·​cal | \ ˌpa-thə-ˈlä-ji-kəl How to pronounce pathological (audio) \
variants: or less commonly pathologic \ ˌpa-​thə-​ˈlä-​jik How to pronounce pathological (audio) \

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 How to pronounce pathological (audio) \ 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 Created to help people who classify themsevles as problem or pathological gamblers, Maryland's Voluntary Exclusion Program allows anyone to ban themselves from the state's casinos. Jeff Barker,, "These gamblers took dramatic steps to be barred from entering a Maryland casino again. Then they went anyhow.," 1 Apr. 2021 Osteobiographies, life histories constructed from skeletal remains, can offer insights into nutritional, migratory, pathological and even political-economic conditions of past populations. Chip Colwell, The Conversation, "US museums hold the remains of thousands of Black people," 24 Mar. 2021 Psychiatrists are also hesitant to characterize levels or brands of sexuality as pathological. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Sex addiction isn't a medically recognized diagnosis," 19 Mar. 2021 The fans, with a pathological obsession for winning, and the media demand wins. Samindra Kunti, Forbes, "Flamengo Retains Brazilian Crown After Final Day Of Drama And Defeat," 26 Feb. 2021 His obsession with Holiday as a threat to national security is near pathological and fuels his agency’s relentless persecution of the singer that drives the film’s plot. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Andra Day burns hot and cool as jazz great in ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’," 25 Feb. 2021 As the second half of the school year begins, parents and teachers must accept that distraction and disengagement during online learning are normal, not pathological. Erica Komisar, WSJ, "Online Class and False ADHD Diagnoses," 20 Dec. 2020 After injecting this variant into chimpanzees, researchers detected the virus in the animals’ blood and saw the kinds of pathological changes seen in humans with the disease. Sarah Toy, WSJ, "Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded for Discovery of Hepatitis C Virus," 5 Oct. 2020 Cruz called the future president a pathological liar, narcissist and serial adulterer. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Ted Cruz, affirming Trump’s refusal to concede, angles to be Trumpiest post-Trump contender," 13 Nov. 2020

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

History and Etymology for pathological

New Latin pathologicus "of the study of the passions, of the study of diseases" (borrowed from Greek pathologikós, from patho- patho- + -logikos, from -logia -logy + -ikos -ic entry 1) + -al entry 1

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Time Traveler for pathological

Time Traveler

The first known use of pathological was in 1656

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Statistics for pathological

Last Updated

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pathological.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for pathological



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


patho·​log·​i·​cal | \ ˌpath-ə-ˈläj-i-kəl How to pronounce pathological (audio) \
variants: also pathologic \ -​ik How to pronounce pathological (audio) \

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 How to pronounce pathological (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on pathological

Nglish: Translation of pathological for Spanish Speakers

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