pte·​ryg·​i·​um te-ˈri-jē-əm How to pronounce pterygium (audio)
plural pterygia te-ˈri-jē-ə How to pronounce pterygium (audio) also pterygiums
: a fleshy mass of thickened conjunctiva that grows over part of the cornea usually from the inner side of the eyeball and causes a disturbance of vision

Examples of pterygium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The differential diagnoses included limbal dermoid, foreign-body granuloma, atypical pterygium, and corneal scar. Ncbi Rofl, Discover Magazine, 19 Mar. 2013 And so the Paralympian — who was born with popliteal pterygium syndrome and is a double above-knee amputee — took him up on the offer. Lindsay Kimble,, 14 Aug. 2020 Handler explained that a pterygium can extend onto the cornea, affecting vision. Beth Wood, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 June 2019 Other eye conditions are related to UV exposure, including the noncancerous growths known as pinguecula and pterygium. Jill U. Adams,, 31 May 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pterygium.' 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, from Greek pterygion little wing, from pteryx

First Known Use

1562, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pterygium was in 1562

Dictionary Entries Near pterygium

Cite this Entry

“Pterygium.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition


pte·​ryg·​i·​um te-ˈrij-ē-əm How to pronounce pterygium (audio)
plural pterygiums or pterygia -ē-ə How to pronounce pterygium (audio)
: a triangular fleshy mass of thickened conjunctiva occurring usually at the inner side of the eyeball, covering part of the cornea, and causing a disturbance of vision
: a forward growth of the cuticle over the nail

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