symp·​tom | \ ˈsim(p)-təm How to pronounce symptom (audio) \

Definition of symptom

1a : subjective evidence of disease or physical disturbance broadly : something that indicates the presence of bodily disorder
b : an evident reaction by a plant to a pathogen
2a : something that indicates the existence of something else symptoms of an inner turmoil
b : a slight indication : trace

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Other Words from symptom

symptomless \ ˈsim(p)-​təm-​ləs How to pronounce symptom (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for symptom

sign, mark, token, note, symptom mean a discernible indication of what is not itself directly perceptible. sign applies to any indication to be perceived by the senses or the reason. encouraging signs for the economy mark suggests something impressed on or inherently characteristic of a thing often in contrast to general outward appearance. a mark of a good upbringing token applies to something that serves as a proof of something intangible. this gift is a token of our esteem note suggests a distinguishing mark or characteristic. a note of irony in her writing symptom suggests an outward indication of an internal change or condition. rampant crime is a symptom of that city's decay

Examples of symptom in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web By rule, a player has to be symptom free after each step. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Larry Nance Jr., Jarrett Allen return to basketball activities, possible both play Wednesday in Charlotte," 10 Apr. 2021 While the coronavirus does infect children, about 60% show no symptoms, compared with about 40% of adults who are symptom free, Rutherford said. Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle, "Coronavirus vaccines could be ready for children by year's end, experts say," 17 Mar. 2021 Adam Rupe, spokesman for KIPP DC, said the network has a rigorous symptom-screening process. Washington Post, "Here’s what we know about infections in D.C. schools," 7 Apr. 2021 The timing of symptom onset—between 4 and 16 days following vaccination—was another clue that renegade antibodies might be playing a role, says hematologist Andreas Greinacher at the University of Greifswald in Germany. Gretchen Vogel, Science | AAAS, "Data concerns and safety worries fuel crisis of confidence in AstraZeneca vaccine," 23 Mar. 2021 The date of symptom onset and presence of underlying conditions are being confirmed. oregonlive, "Coronavirus in Oregon: State reports 365 new cases, 3 deaths," 13 Mar. 2021 When Lambert analyzed symptom onset specifically, distinct patterns emerged. Erika Edwards, NBC News, "Long-haul Covid patients can experience 'waves of symptoms,' early research suggests," 10 Mar. 2021 This figure counts people with a symptom onset of over 21 days ago who have not died. Laura Hancock, cleveland, "Ohio reports 1,750 new coronavirus cases, an additional 752 deaths: Friday update," 5 Mar. 2021 Anyone over age 65 with a COVID-19 diagnosis is eligible for treatment, which must be given within 10 days of symptom onset. Christopher Snowbeck, Star Tribune, "UnitedHealth Group opens 'pop-up' infusion center for COVID-19 patients," 28 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'symptom.' 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 symptom

1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for symptom

Late Latin symptomat-, symptoma, from Greek symptōmat-, symptōma happening, attribute, symptom, from sympiptein to happen, from syn- + piptein to fall — more at feather

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Time Traveler for symptom

Time Traveler

The first known use of symptom was in 1541

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Statistics for symptom

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Symptom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for symptom



English Language Learners Definition of symptom

: a change in the body or mind which indicates that a disease is present
: a change which shows that something bad exists : a sign of something bad


symp·​tom | \ ˈsimp-təm How to pronounce symptom (audio) \

Kids Definition of symptom

1 : a noticeable change in the body or its functions that indicates the presence of a disease or other disorder
2 : indication sense 2, sign Loss of jobs is a symptom of a weakening economy.


symp·​tom | \ ˈsim(p)-təm How to pronounce symptom (audio) \

Medical Definition of symptom

: subjective evidence of disease or physical disturbance observed by the patient headache is a symptom of many diseases visual disturbances may be a symptom of retinal arteriosclerosis broadly : something that indicates the presence of a physical disorder — compare sign sense 2

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Comments on symptom

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