phyl·​lox·​e·​ra | \ ˌfi-ˌläk-ˈsir-ə How to pronounce phylloxera (audio) , fə-ˈläk-sə-rə How to pronounce phylloxera (audio) \

Definition of phylloxera

: any of several plant lice (family Phylloxeridae) especially : one (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae synonym Viteus vitifoliae) originally of North America but introduced into Europe and elsewhere that produces galls on the leaves and roots of grape vines and is a serious pest especially of vinifera grapes in wine-producing regions

Examples of phylloxera in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the 19th century, Serbia was one of the most important wine-making areas of the Austro-Hungarian empire — and when phylloxera ravaged the vineyards of Burgundy and Bordeaux, the French turned to this region to satisfy their thirst. Sarah Souli, Travel + Leisure, "The Best European Wine Regions You've Never Heard Of," 25 May 2020 In the 18th century, Stromboli’s inhabitants farmed the volcano’s terraced slopes, but, in 1880, a parasitic phylloxera outbreak attacked the grapevines and destroyed the agricultural culture. Andrea Frazzetta, National Geographic, "What it’s like to live in the shadow of an active volcano," 29 Dec. 2019 But then came the devastating blight of phylloxera in the 1860s, followed eventually by World War I and the arrival of heavy industry spearheaded by the Michelin tire company, based nearby in Clermont. Stephen Heyman, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Road Trip Through Auvergne’s Natural Wineries and Charming Bistros," 11 Nov. 2019 By the early 1900s, when the French 75 was introduced, cognac wasn’t so common, partially due to the mid-1800s phylloxera epidemic, which had diminished production. Chadner Navarro, WSJ, "The Return of Cognac—In Cocktail Form," 27 May 2019 The wine is made from grapes farmed organically at some of the highest altitudes in Italy, and some from low-yielding pre-phylloxera vines as old as 140 years. Craig Laban,, "Drink: Elegant red wine flows from Sicilian volcano," 11 May 2018 This vineyard, though, is on sandy soils, in which phylloxera cannot survive. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "The Grape From Manchuela," 21 June 2018 Since the 19th century, when a plague of phylloxera ravaged most of Europe’s grapevines, the solution was to graft the European vines onto American roots, which are immune to the aphid. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "The Grape From Manchuela," 21 June 2018 Little can grow in layers of volcanic ash and pumice, including the phylloxera pest that destroyed most of Europe’s vineyards in the 19th century., "Volcanic Wines Are Heating Up Around the Globe," 30 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of phylloxera

1880, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for phylloxera

New Latin, from phyll- + Greek xēros dry

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about phylloxera

Time Traveler for phylloxera

Time Traveler

The first known use of phylloxera was in 1880

See more words from the same year

Statistics for phylloxera

Cite this Entry

“Phylloxera.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2020.

Comments on phylloxera

What made you want to look up phylloxera? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!