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 After all, only one virus in human history has been declared eradicated by a vaccine -- smallpox. Send your questions here. Tara John, CNN, "What you need to know about coronavirus on Tuesday, December 29," 29 Dec. 2020 Such confinements cause a sickness both spiritual and literal; multiple characters contract an unnamed contagion resembling smallpox. Laurence Scott, The New Yorker, "Charles Dickens, the Writer Who Saw Lockdown Everywhere," 24 Dec. 2020 In the 1880s, in response to smallpox outbreaks, some public schools began requiring students and teachers to show vaccination cards. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Illinois has its first COVID-19 vaccines. Here’s everything you need to know," 14 Dec. 2020 Sometimes a smallpox case that nobody wanted to handle happened. NBC News, "Chinese American WWII veterans honored with Congressional Gold Medal," 11 Dec. 2020 Before becoming an astronaut, Rubins was part of the team that developed the first model of smallpox infection. Sophie Lewis, CBS News, "Meet the 9 astronauts on NASA's Artemis team who have a chance to be the first woman to walk on the moon," 10 Dec. 2020 Deadly learning experience Four years after the 1904 revolt, Rio was struck by another smallpox epidemic. Pedro Cantisano, The Conversation, "Brazil’s president rejects COVID-19 vaccine, undermining a century of progress toward universal inoculation," 7 Dec. 2020 Edward Jenner in 1796 protected individuals from smallpox using cowpox (a disease that is similar but less deadly). Dharushana Muthulingam, Vogue, "An Infectious Disease Doctor Answers All Your Questions About the Covid Vaccine," 18 Dec. 2020 What’s happened in the United States is that, historically, there has been a rise and fall of anti-vaccine sentiment ever since colonial times, with smallpox vaccinations. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "The Influence of the Anti-Vaccine Movement," 18 Dec. 2020

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

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Smallpox.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smallpox. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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

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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