sepsis

noun
sep·​sis | \ ˈsep-səs How to pronounce sepsis (audio) \
plural sepses\ ˈsep-​ˌsēz How to pronounce sepsis (audio) \

Definition of sepsis

: 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 doctors diagnosed her with double pneumonia and sepsis. Bethany Rodgers, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Aug. 2021 The cause of death was complications from sepsis, according to his son and fellow musician, Zachary Caplinger. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Aug. 2021 To improve outcomes for patients with sepsis, HCA Healthcare hospitals started analyzing aggregated data streams to provide actionable information to caregivers. Kieran Murphy, STAT, 1 Aug. 2021 Of the tens of thousands of spinal-cord-injury patients on both sides of the Great War, eighty per cent died in short order from sepsis initiated by bedsores or kidney infections, and many of the survivors died soon after. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 12 Aug. 2021 Epic Systems has mounted an aggressive push in recent years to spur the adoption of algorithms to predict everything from the onset of sepsis to who won’t show up for medical appointments. Stat Staff, STAT, 27 July 2021 After surgery, an infection turned out to be sepsis and necrotizing fasciitis — flesh-eating bacteria — which threatened his life and nearly resulted in having his leg amputated. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Aug. 2021 Omitting someone in need, such failing to identify someone who may be at risk for sepsis, is even more costly. Chris Hemphill, STAT, 7 Aug. 2021 Mock had contracted flesh-eating bacteria through an oyster cut, his friends and family told the Houston Chronicle, causing sepsis which eventually led to organ failure. Julie Mazziotta, PEOPLE.com, 6 Aug. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of sepsis

1863, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sepsis

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About sepsis

Dictionary Entries Near sepsis

Sepsidae

sepsis

sept

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for sepsis

Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sepsis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sepsis. Accessed 18 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sepsis

sepsis

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sepsis

: illness caused by an infection in a part of the body

sepsis

noun
sep·​sis | \ ˈsep-səs How to pronounce sepsis (audio) \
plural sepses\ ˈsep-​ˌsēz How to pronounce sepsis (audio) \

Medical Definition of sepsis

: 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

Britannica English: Translation of sepsis for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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