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 symptomless (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 Besides housing those under quarantine or with milder symptoms, RVs can be used for housing medical personnel or for laboratory work to free up space in hospitals, according to Mike Happe, CEO of Winnebago Industries, a major RV maker. Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY, "RVs get new role as 'quarantine and isolation housing' and for homeless," 31 Mar. 2020 For patients with serious but manageable symptoms, they’ll likely be treated, discharged, then remotely monitored. Sidney Fussell, Wired, "A Wearable for Opiod Patients Gets Retooled for Covid-19," 30 Mar. 2020 In France and Spain, hospital and nursing officials say nursing home residents who come down with symptoms of coronavirus are not necessarily admitted to intensive care. Anchorage Daily News, "How would overwhelmed hospital teams decide who to treat first?," 30 Mar. 2020 Those with symptoms will be separated from the people who do not, said James Mathy, housing administrator for the Milwaukee County Housing Division. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Coronavirus' swift spread causes further election uncertainty while Milwaukee sings and socializes -- from a distance," 29 Mar. 2020 Most Egyptians with symptoms are likely going untested. Sylvia Poggioli, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal, March 23–29," 29 Mar. 2020 State officials were on site Sunday morning at a Roseville nursing facility where more than 20 patients were reported in isolation with coronavirus symptoms. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "State officials at Roseville nursing home with possible coronavirus outbreak," 29 Mar. 2020 The study also found people seemed to be most contagious in the early days of an infection and those with severe symptoms seemed to stay contagious longer. Amanda Morris, azcentral, "How long can the new coronavirus live on surfaces? Can you be reinfected? COVID-19: Ask-An-Expert," 28 Mar. 2020 Another study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that one Chinese patient who tested positive for coronavirus with no symptoms had similar viral load as symptomatic cases. Dennis Pillion |, al, "Yes, you can spread coronavirus even if you never show symptoms," 28 Mar. 2020

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

3 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Symptom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for symptom


How to pronounce symptom (audio)

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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