smallpox

noun
small·​pox | \ ˈsmȯl-ˌpäks How to pronounce smallpox (audio) \

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 Unlike smallpox and polio, however, there is no vaccine against HIV. The Economist, "Slowly, HIV is being beaten," 28 Nov. 2019 So far, only two infectious diseases have been globally eradicated: smallpox and rinderpest, a viral disease that affects cattle. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "We’ve officially annihilated a second strain of polio. Only one remains," 24 Oct. 2019 Pigs and rats ravaged the island ecosystems while measles, flu and smallpox burned through the native populations, killing millions of people and enabling the Spanish, English, Portuguese and French empires to take root in the New World. Steven M. Opal, Time, "When Mosquitoes Brought Yellow Fever to the Caribbean, They Also Spread Slavery," 11 Oct. 2019 And unlike polio and smallpox, a vaccine looks less likely to play a key role in its plotted demise. Katie Hunt, CNN, "Can the world eradicate another disease?," 8 Sep. 2019 The British built it in 1895 as Rietfontein Hospital to house victims of contagious diseases like leprosy, smallpox and syphilis. New York Times, "Scientists Discover New Cure for the Deadliest Strain of Tuberculosis," 14 Aug. 2019 The Russians were the first to arrive on Alaska’s western rim in the 1700s, bringing cartographers and missionaries – and the smallpox that would decimate indigenous populations, including the Yup’ik Eskimos living in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, "Will climate change force this Alaska village to relocate?," 1 July 2019 Sufficiently capable actors could work to resurrect the deadliest pathogens of the past, like smallpox or Spanish flu, or modify existing pathogens such as bird flu to be more contagious and lethal. R. Daniel Bressler, Vox, "“Designer bugs”: how the next pandemic might come from a lab," 6 Dec. 2018 But that fateful encounter, which introduced smallpox and other alien ailments into their population, decimated the Tsimshian and threatened to compromise their genetic diversity in the years ahead. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "Unraveling the Genetic History of a First Nations People," 26 Apr. 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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Time Traveler for smallpox

Time Traveler

The first known use of smallpox was circa 1562

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Statistics for smallpox

Last Updated

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Smallpox.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smallpox. Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for smallpox

smallpox

noun
How to pronounce smallpox (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of smallpox

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

smallpox

noun
small·​pox | \ ˈsmȯl-ˌpäks How to pronounce smallpox (audio) \

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 How to pronounce smallpox (audio) \

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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