smallpox

noun

small·​pox ˈsmȯl-ˌpäks How to pronounce smallpox (audio)
: an acute contagious febrile disease of humans that is caused by a poxvirus (species Variola virus of the genus Orthopoxvirus), is characterized by a skin eruption with pustules, sloughing, and scar formation, and is believed to have been eradicated globally by widespread vaccination

called also variola

Examples of smallpox in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In a way, George Bernard Shaw’s outspoken opposition to the smallpox vaccine in the first half of the 20th century is not unlike that of, say, Aaron Rodgers’s misleading statements about the Covid-19 vaccines. A.w. Ohlheiser, Vox, 2 May 2024 Settlers carried viral diseases like smallpox and measles that decimated Indigenous populations. Amanda Bellows, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 June 2024 That very year routine vaccination against smallpox had ceased in the U.S., no longer needed because the disease had been eliminated from the country. Maryn McKenna, Scientific American, 1 Sep. 2020 Here, Native Americans did not succumb to smallpox, and the powerful and ancient Cahokia nation has joined the United States. The New Yorker, 12 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for smallpox 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'smallpox.' 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

circa 1562, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of smallpox was circa 1562

Dictionary Entries Near smallpox

Cite this Entry

“Smallpox.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smallpox. Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

smallpox

noun
small·​pox ˈsmȯl-ˌpäks How to pronounce smallpox (audio)
: a sometimes deadly disease that is caused by a virus, is characterized by fever and a skin rash, and is believed to have been wiped out worldwide as a result of vaccination

Medical Definition

smallpox

noun
small·​pox ˈsmȯl-ˌpäks How to pronounce smallpox (audio)
: an acute contagious febrile disease of humans that is caused by a poxvirus of the genus Orthopoxvirus (species Variola virus), is characterized by skin eruption with pustules, sloughing, and scar formation, and is believed to have been eradicated globally by widespread vaccination

called also variola

see variola major, variola minor

More from Merriam-Webster on smallpox

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