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

Examples of sepsis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The siblings of a 15-year-old Missouri boy who died two years ago have filed a wrongful death lawsuit, alleging his foster family allowed an ear infection to go untreated, leading to his death from sepsis. Samantha Latson, Kansas City Star, 22 Mar. 2024 She was diagnosed with pneumonia in both lungs and also had sepsis, a potentially deadly condition caused by the body’s response to an infection that can lead to tissue damage and organ failure. Dave Quinn, Peoplemag, 19 Mar. 2024 Bottlenose dolphins, increasingly found stranded in San Diego, are believed to have died from sepsis caused by a bacteria sometimes found in contaminated water. Lauren Fichten, CBS News, 15 Mar. 2024 Symptoms of sepsis include heavy breathing, fever, fast heart rate, and chills. Alexa Mikhail, Fortune Well, 19 Jan. 2024 Even with surgery and treatment for the infection, the CDC says that up to 1 in 5 people die from the disease which can cause organ failure and sepsis. EW.com, 9 Jan. 2024 Septic shock is a progression of sepsis, in which the body’s infection-fighting processes turn on itself, causing the organs to work poorly, according to the Mayo Clinic. Kimberlee Speakman, Peoplemag, 21 Mar. 2024 Her mother died of sepsis in August 2014, while recovering from surgery to treat bone marrow cancer. Rob Tannenbaum, New York Times, 8 Mar. 2024 David Beckwith, a longtime publicist known for representing Elvis Presley’s Graceland Museum, died Jan. 19 after experiencing sepsis following a hip replacement surgery. Jaden Thompson, Variety, 24 Jan. 2024

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

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 21 Apr. 2024.

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
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