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

Polio will remain in only Afghanistan and Pakistan; and one day it will be completely eradicated, like smallpox was in 1980. The Economist, "Africa is on the verge of being declared polio-free," 22 Aug. 2019 The steppe nomads apparently had lived with the disease for centuries, perhaps building up immunity or resistance—much as the Europeans who colonized the Americas carried smallpox without succumbing to it wholesale. Andrew Curry, National Geographic, "The first Europeans weren’t who you might think," 12 July 2019 With his powdered wig, his burning black eyes, his bulbous forehead, and his cheeks pitted with smallpox, Goethe must have been a terrifying spectacle. Andrew Roberts, The New York Review of Books, "Ferdinand Mount," 6 June 2019 But over time, evolution can shape them in a manner that increases their chances of transmission, such as by enabling measles to linger longer in the air and allowing smallpox to survive longer in the environment. Quanta Magazine, "The Unforgiving Math That Stops Epidemics," 26 Oct. 2017 The order will suspend research into organisms that cause Ebola, smallpox, anthrax and plague, and poison ricin, the New York Times reported. Fox News, "Military lab, which handles Ebola and other dangerous pathogens, suspended after failing CDC inspection," 7 Aug. 2019 Its signature success was in combating smallpox, which was declared eradicated in 1979 — a historical feat as the first disease eliminated by human effort. Ved Nanda, The Denver Post, "Nanda: WHO, Rotary Clubs have made the world a healthier place," 27 June 2019 Every ship heading upriver to the city was required to stop for inspection, and any passenger showing signs of yellow fever, smallpox, cholera or typhus was ferried over to the Lazaretto to recover — or die. Inga Saffron, https://www.inquirer.com, "This building on the Delaware River saved immigrant lives for 95 years. Now it’s been rescued by Tinicum Twp. | Inga Saffron," 4 June 2019 In contrast, polio and smallpox historically spread to about 5 to 7 people each, which puts them in the same range as the modern-day HIV virus and pertussis (the bacterium that causes whooping cough). Quanta Magazine, "The Unforgiving Math That Stops Epidemics," 26 Oct. 2017

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

27 Aug 2019

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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 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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