sick building syndrome


: a set of symptoms (such as headache, fatigue, and eye irritation) typically affecting workers in modern airtight office buildings that is believed to be caused by indoor pollutants (such as formaldehyde fumes or microorganisms) compare multiple chemical sensitivity

Examples of sick building syndrome in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Joan Bennett didn’t believe in sick building syndrome. Julie Rehmeyer, Discover Magazine, 14 Jan. 2014 Indoor air pollution causes a constellation of symptoms: headaches, fatigue, and low productivity, sometimes referred to as sick building syndrome. Lisa Wood Shapiro, Wired, 12 Dec. 2019

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

Word History

First Known Use

1983, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sick building syndrome was in 1983

Dictionary Entries Near sick building syndrome

Cite this Entry

“Sick building syndrome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition

sick building syndrome

sick build·​ing syndrome -ˈbil-diŋ- How to pronounce sick building syndrome (audio)
: a set of symptoms (as headache, fatigue, eye irritation, and breathing difficulties) that typically affect workers in modern airtight office buildings, that are believed to be caused by indoor pollutants (as formaldehyde fumes, particulate matter, or microorganisms), and that tend to disappear when affected individuals leave the building
abbreviation SBS
compare building-related illness
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