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 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 Chateaubriand’s most unsparing writing comes during his time as a Royalist soldier, when he’s wounded, infected by smallpox and discharged to wander the French countryside. Alan Riding, New York Times, "The French Revolution Made Him an Exile, and a Writer," 25 May 2018 Audubon also discovered a few new species of birds, and encountered Indians whose numbers had been ravaged by smallpox. William Souder, Smithsonian, "The Fantastic Beasts of John James Audubon’s Little-Known Book on Mammals," 23 Feb. 2018 Each of the vials originally contained 100 doses of the vaccine, which is usually reserved for people at high risk of smallpox (such as military personnel), yet one vial was partially used. ? Susan Scutti, CNN, "FDA cracks down on clinics marketing unapproved stem cell therapies," 10 May 2018 The threat of the spread of smallpox, which white men carried with them, loomed as well. Author: Meagan Flynn, Anchorage Daily News, "Canada apologizes for brutal hanging of B.C. tribal chiefs 150 years ago," 27 Mar. 2018 It was built to serve the French population in 1860 during a smallpox scare. Frank Shyong, latimes.com, "Chinatown's only hospital will reopen as an outpatient clinic," 6 July 2018 Smallpox was eradicated by 1980, after generations of research and immunization; many Americans born before 1972 have smallpox vaccination scars. Rebecca Spalding, Bloomberg.com, "The DNA Cops Who Make Sure the World’s Deadliest Viruses Aren’t Rebuilt," 27 June 2018 The ring vaccination strategy was used against smallpox in the 1970s until it was officially declared eradicated in 1980. David Mckenzie, CNN, "Fear and failure: How Ebola sparked a global health revolution," 26 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

5 Nov 2018

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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