smallpox

noun
small·​pox | \ ˈsmȯl-ˌpäks \

Definition of smallpox

: 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

The world first eradicated a disease, smallpox, in 1980. Greg Ip, WSJ, "The World Is Getting Quietly, Relentlessly Better," 2 Jan. 2019 Disgracefully, Franklin then mocked preacher Cotton Mather—a vociferous supporter of inoculation—after Mather lost a daughter and granddaughter to what might have been smallpox. Sam Kean, WSJ, "‘Young Benjamin Franklin’ Review: Poor Richard Sows His Oats," 17 Sep. 2018 Despite having no evidence of this claim — and the fact that the last known case of smallpox was in Somalia in 1977 — this claim was given airtime on a major news network. Ed Stetzer, Vox, "Fellow evangelicals: stop falling for Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric," 6 Nov. 2018 Most poignant, when Franklin’s next son, Franky, died of smallpox in November 1736, at age 4, Franklin wrote a stirring defense of inoculation, however unpopular, and later went out of his way to praise his onetime nemesis Mather. Sam Kean, WSJ, "‘Young Benjamin Franklin’ Review: Poor Richard Sows His Oats," 17 Sep. 2018 However, two children and one adult infected by the same strain of smallpox died soon afterward. Susan Scutti, Newsweek, "The Only Thing Scarier Than Bio-Warfare is the Antidote," 13 Mar. 2014 Geillis later confesses to being a witch, calling the smallpox vaccination scar on her arm a devil's mark. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "How Many Time Travelers Do We Know About in Outlander So Far?," 19 Nov. 2018 Even smallpox, whose eradication was one of the greatest achievements of cooperative human endeavor, could return—perhaps through bioterrorism aimed at a world of now-unprotected human beings. William F. Bynum, WSJ, "‘Between Hope and Fear’ Review: Anxieties Immune to Reason," 16 Aug. 2018 The sharp decline in population wasn't just due to violent deaths, but also diseases brought by the Europeans, including the common cold, flu, measles, venereal diseases, tuberculosis and smallpox. Aaron Smith, CNN, "The 'forgotten people': When death came to the Torres Strait," 25 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'smallpox.' 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 smallpox

circa 1562, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for smallpox

Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for smallpox

The first known use of smallpox was circa 1562

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More Definitions for smallpox

smallpox

noun

English Language Learners Definition of smallpox

: a serious disease that causes fever and a rash and often death

smallpox

noun
small·​pox | \ ˈsmȯl-ˌpäks \

Kids Definition of smallpox

: a sometimes deadly disease in which fever and skin rash occur and which is believed to have been wiped out worldwide by vaccination

smallpox

noun
small·​pox | \ ˈsmȯl-ˌpäks \

Medical Definition of smallpox

: 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on smallpox

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with smallpox

Spanish Central: Translation of smallpox

Nglish: Translation of smallpox for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of smallpox for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about smallpox

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