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 Other safety measures included deep cleaning, emphasis on hand-washing and sanitizing, better ventilation, daily symptom screening and virtual class options. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "‘Let us cheer!’, cruises return, adolescent trials: News from around our 50 states," 22 Mar. 2021 The regulations also outline symptom screening three times: when making an appointment, in a follow-up email, and upon arrival at the temple. Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune, "What would Jesus do? LDS apostle Dale Renlund says wearing a mask shows ‘Christlike’ love.," 7 Dec. 2020 For Paige Bueckers, the lackluster weight-room was merely a symptom of a larger issue. Mark Dunphy, San Antonio Express-News, "'Beyond disrespectful': Players blast unequal facilities at NCAA women's tournament in San Antonio," 19 Mar. 2021 Such disagreements are a symptom of the polarization that is roiling the world all around the Catholic Church. Steven P. Millies, The Conversation, "Catholic opinions on Johnson & Johnson vaccine highlight debate between hardliners on abortion and others in the church," 18 Mar. 2021 Such disagreements are a symptom of the polarization that is roiling the world all around the Catholic Church. The Conversation, oregonlive, "Questions over J&J vaccine, which uses stem cells, divides Catholics; is it ‘morally acceptable’ or ‘morally compromised’?," 18 Mar. 2021 If art is a symptom of disease, what is the artist’s role, if any, in its creation? Margaret Gray, Los Angeles Times, "Review: When Maurice Ravel, a painter and an UCSF neurologist connected on Zoom," 13 Mar. 2021 Democrats say the tech giants are a symptom of a broader disease, pointing to studies showing many U.S. industries have grown more concentrated. Ryan Tracy, WSJ, "Antitrust Law: What Is It and Why Does Congress Want to Change It?," 12 Mar. 2021 However, night sweats can also be a symptom of a variety of conditions ranging from hot flashes or side effects from medications to much more serious issues. Allen Foster,, "The best blanket for night sweats," 11 Mar. 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

4 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Symptom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 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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