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

Definition of sepsis

: a toxic condition resulting from the spread of bacteria or their toxins from a focus of infection especially : septicemia

Examples of sepsis in a Sentence

She was treated for sepsis of the urinary tract.

Recent Examples on the Web

The cause was sepsis, said his daughter Karen Crumlich. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Robert Friend, Tuskegee fighter pilot who led Air Force study on UFOs, dies at 99," 23 June 2019 About 1 in 3 patients who die in a hospital have sepsis. Alexandria Hein, Fox News, "Wimbledon champ Ken Flach's widow speaks out on tennis great's sepsis death," 25 Sep. 2018 Robert Friend, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot who participated in 142 combat missions during World War II as a member of the illustrious Tuskegee Airmen, died of sepsis last Friday, June 21, at the age of 99. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Robert Friend, Tuskegee Airman Who Flew in 142 Combat Missions, Dies at 99," 26 June 2019 The cause was sepsis, said his daughter Karen Crumlich. Harrison Smith,, "Robert Friend, Tuskegee Airman who flew 142 WWII combat missions dies at 99," 24 June 2019 Thomas Wriston, 78, died after he was diagnosed with sepsis, respiratory failure, pneumonia, anemia, and subacute kidney injury, according to the court document. Jessica Seaman, The Denver Post, "At least one death, “hundreds of severe infections” linked to Porter hospital’s use of contaminated surgical instruments, lawsuit alleges," 16 June 2019 Morris noted that vibrio infections, albeit rare, are more likely to cause diarrhea or sepsis, a bacterial infection in the blood that causes organs to shut down, than the deadly flesh-eating infection. NBC News, "Is climate change to blame for a rise in 'flesh-eating' bacteria cases? Doctors say yes," 17 June 2019 Yeah, insists the former box-office beast, after battling various health issues: diabetes, leukemia (remission), a bad heart, a bum shoulder, sepsis. Chris Erskine,, "In one corner, Ryan O’Neal. In another, his sportscaster son. The outcome may surprise you," 14 June 2019 Additionally, the transmission of these diseases during pregnancy can lead to severe consequences for babies, including stillbirth, sepsis, blindness, and other conditions. Vandana Ravikumar, USA TODAY, "'A wake-up call': 1 million new sexually transmitted infections every day, WHO reports," 6 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of sepsis

1876, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sepsis

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

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Statistics for sepsis

Last Updated

22 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for sepsis

The first known use of sepsis was in 1876

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English Language Learners Definition of sepsis

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


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

Medical Definition of sepsis

: a systemic response typically to a serious usually localized infection (as of the abdomen or lungs) especially of bacterial origin that is usually marked by abnormal body temperature and white blood cell count, tachycardia, and tachypnea specifically : systemic inflammatory response syndrome induced by a documented infection — see multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, septic shock

More from Merriam-Webster on sepsis

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sepsis

Britannica English: Translation of sepsis for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sepsis

What made you want to look up sepsis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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