swimmer's ear

noun

: inflammation of the canal in the outer ear that is characterized by itching, redness, swelling, pain, and discharge and that typically occurs when water trapped in the outer ear during swimming becomes infected usually with a bacterium

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Otitis externa, more commonly known as swimmer's ear, was the most common ailment, accounting for 4.7 million or 65% of annual waterborne illnesses and 20% of hospitalizations. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 16 Dec. 2020 Meanwhile, Neanderthals seem more than twice as likely to suffer swimmer's ear (about 48%). Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, 19 Aug. 2019 In modern human populations, some people are more prone to swimmer's ear than others. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, 19 Aug. 2019 The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery recommends this approach to prevent swimmer's ear. Houston Chronicle, 8 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'swimmer's ear.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1917, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of swimmer's ear was in 1917

Dictionary Entries Near swimmer's ear

Cite this Entry

“Swimmer's ear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swimmer%27s%20ear. Accessed 3 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

swimmer's ear

noun

: redness, swelling, and pain of the ear canal that typically occurs when water trapped in the ear canal during swimming becomes infected usually with bacteria

Medical Definition

swimmer's ear

noun

swim·​mer's ear ˈswim-ərz- How to pronounce swimmer's ear (audio)
: inflammation of the canal in the outer ear that is characterized by itching, redness, swelling, pain, discharge, and sometimes hearing loss and that typically occurs when water trapped in the outer ear during swimming becomes infected with a bacterium (as Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Staphylococcus aureus) or rarely with a fungus
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