\ ˈpäks How to pronounce pox (audio) \
plural pox or poxes

Definition of pox

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a virus disease (such as chicken pox) characterized by pustules or eruptions
b archaic : smallpox
c : syphilis
2 : a disastrous evil : plague, curse a pox on him


poxed; poxing; poxes

Definition of pox (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to infect with a pox and especially with syphilis

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Other Words from pox


poxy \ ˈpäk-​sē How to pronounce poxy (audio) \ adjective

Examples of pox in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Save room for dessert at Joe Gelato—be sure to ask for the secret menu: maiz gelato topped with smoky pox, a popular corn liquor first used by the Mayans in religious ceremonies. Michaela Trimble, Vogue, "An Insider’s Guide to Colonia Juárez, Mexico City’s Hottest Neighborhood," 3 July 2019 But other viruses, including influenza and variola (pox) have been found in archaeological human remains as much as 400 years old, and Mühlemann says that others like herpes viruses, parvoviruses, and adenoviruses might be good candidates. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Genghis Khan’s Mongol horde probably had rampant Hepatitis B," 11 May 2018 Nigeria, which has been battling outbreaks of yellow fever, monkey pox and Lassa virus, which can cause a lethal hemorrhagic fever resembling Ebola, is one of the countries identified by PreventEpidemics as not ready. Lena H. Sun, chicagotribune.com, "How prepared is the world for next epidemic? Tool shows most countries are not.," 22 June 2018 STVRs in typical family neighborhoods are a pox on all our houses. Logan Jenkins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "A radical is born when a motel moves in next-door," 14 May 2018 Macmillan also thinks that grays get a bad rap as carriers of squirrel pox. John Kelly, Washington Post, "U.K. animal lovers face a question: Is it right to kill one squirrel to save another?," 16 Apr. 2018 Disease threats include avian malaria and pox virus carried by mosquitoes, according to the ʻAlalā Project. Bradley J. Fikes, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Help name 12 rare Hawaiian crows nurtured by San Diego Zoo Global," 5 Apr. 2018 Spanish invaders are thought to have unleashed a throng of pathogens and plagues from the Old World, including small pox and typhoid. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Gut bacteria linked to cataclysmic epidemic that wiped out 16th-century Mexico," 16 Jan. 2018 The world’s most successful vaccinations against measles, polio, tetanus and small pox generally work in the same way. Ashley Halsey Iii, Washington Post, "The flu can kill tens of millions of people. In 1918, that’s exactly what it did.," 27 Jan. 2018

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


circa 1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1601, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pox


alteration of pocks, plural of pock

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Dictionary Entries near pox







Poynting's theorem

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Time Traveler for pox

The first known use of pox was circa 1530

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More Definitions for pox



English Language Learners Definition of pox

: a disease that causes a rash on the skin
old-fashioned + humorous used to say that you hope something bad will happen to someone or something


\ ˈpäks How to pronounce pox (audio) \
plural pox or poxes

Medical Definition of pox

1 : a virus disease (as chicken pox) characterized by pustules or eruptions
2 archaic : smallpox
3 : syphilis

More from Merriam-Webster on pox

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pox

Spanish Central: Translation of pox

Nglish: Translation of pox for Spanish Speakers

Comments on pox

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


to spread over or through

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