sepsis

noun

sep·​sis ˈsep-səs How to pronounce sepsis (audio)
plural sepses ˈsep-ˌsēz How to pronounce sepsis (audio)
: a potentially life-threatening, systemic response of the immune system that results from the spread of pathogenic agents (such as bacteria or viruses) and their toxins to the bloodstream from a localized infection (as of the lungs), that involves both inflammatory and immunosuppressive activity, that is marked especially by fever, chills, rapid heart rate and breathing, fatigue, confusion, increased blood coagulation, hypotension, impaired microcirculation, and organ dysfunction, and that may progress to septic shock

Note: The primary cause of sepsis is pneumonia with secondary causes commonly including infections of the abdominal cavity and urinary tract.

compare septicemia

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web On Saturday, an 87-year-old man with Covid and long-term hypertension died of sepsis triggered by a serious lung infection, the Beijing government said. Raffaele Huang, WSJ, 21 Nov. 2022 Sadly, Conaway died in 2011 from pneumonia with sepsis. Diana Pearl, Peoplemag, 28 Oct. 2022 One arrived on July 4 and was diagnosed with sepsis. Vernal Coleman, ProPublica, 12 Oct. 2022 Pneumococcal vaccines protect against infections of Streptococcus pneumonia, a family of bacteria behind diseases such as meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis. Jared S. Hopkins, WSJ, 31 Oct. 2022 In infants, Cronobacter usually causes sepsis or severe meningitis. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, 28 Feb. 2022 The Cronobacter and Salmonella infections Cronobacter is a bacteria that can lead to severe, life-threatening infections (sepsis) and meningitis, which is an inflammation of the membranes protecting the brain and spine. Chris Smith, BGR, 19 Feb. 2022 Cronobacter bacteria can cause severe, life-threatening infections (sepsis) or meningitis (an inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spine). Jesse Leavenworth, courant.com, 18 Feb. 2022 But in a busy hospital, prompt sepsis diagnosis can be difficult. Sophie Bushwick, Scientific American, 1 Aug. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

New Latin, from Greek sēpsis decay, from sēpein to putrefy

First Known Use

1863, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sepsis was in 1863

Dictionary Entries Near sepsis

Cite this Entry

“Sepsis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sepsis. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Medical Definition

sepsis

noun

sep·​sis ˈsep-səs How to pronounce sepsis (audio)
plural sepses ˈsep-ˌsēz How to pronounce sepsis (audio)
: a potentially life-threatening, systemic response of the immune system that results from the spread of pathogenic agents (as bacteria or viruses) and their toxins to the bloodstream from a localized infection (as of the lungs), that involves both inflammatory and immunosuppressive activity, and that is marked especially by fever, chills, rapid heart rate and breathing, fatigue, confusion, increased blood coagulation, hypotension, impaired microcirculation, and organ dysfunction, and that may progress to septic shock

Note: The primary cause of sepsis is pneumonia with secondary causes commonly including infections of the abdominal cavity and urinary tract.

compare multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, septicemia

More from Merriam-Webster on sepsis

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ