schis·​to·​some ˈshi-stə-ˌsōm How to pronounce schistosome (audio)
: any of a genus (Schistosoma) of elongated trematode worms with the sexes separate that parasitize the blood vessels of birds and mammals and cause a destructive human schistosomiasis
broadly : a worm of the family (Schistosomatidae) that includes this genus
schistosomal adjective
schistosome adjective

Examples of schistosome in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Also known as Snail Fever, the disease is caused by parasitic flatworms called schistosomes, which use aquatic snails as an intermediate host. Lee H. Goldberg, Ars Technica, 10 May 2020 In addition to drug distribution, WHO emphasizes controlling the snails that incubate the parasitic schistosome worms. Chelsea L. Wood, The Conversation, 17 Jan. 2020 People also got itchy rashes thanks to parasites called avian schistosomes, which usually infect birds and a specific species of snail. Rachel Becker, The Verge, 29 June 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'schistosome.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from New Latin Schistosoma, genus name, from Greek schistós "split, divided" (verbal adjective of schízein "to split, separate") + -o- -o- + New Latin -soma -some entry 3 — more at shed entry 1

Note: The taxon was introduced by the German zoologist David Friedrich Weinland (1829-1915) as a revision of Bilharz's Distoma haematobium, in Human Cestoides: An Essay on the Tapeworms of Man (Cambridge, MA, 1858), p. 87. Weinland describes the formation of the name as follows: "Derived from σχιστός, divided, and σῶμα, body; the body of these Trematodes being, as it were, divided for the two sexes, while all the rest of this Order are hermaphrodites."

First Known Use

1905, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of schistosome was in 1905

Dictionary Entries Near schistosome

Cite this Entry

“Schistosome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Medical Definition


schis·​to·​some ˈshis-tə-ˌsōm How to pronounce schistosome (audio) ˈskis- How to pronounce schistosome (audio)
: any trematode worm of the genus Schistosoma or of the family Schistosomatidae

called also blood fluke

schistosomal adjective
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