symptom

noun

symp·​tom ˈsim(p)-təm How to pronounce symptom (audio)
1
a
: 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
2
a
: something that indicates the existence of something else
symptoms of an inner turmoil
b
: a slight indication : trace
symptomless 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 That may include symptoms that are mild and improving as well as being fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication. Anna Halkidis, Parents, 14 Feb. 2024 But so far researchers have failed to demonstrate that a build-up of amyloid causes dementia — or that removing it alleviates symptoms. Melody Petersen, Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2024 To learn more about the Heimlich maneuver and symptoms of choking, visit mountsinai.org. Natalia Senanayake, Peoplemag, 14 Feb. 2024 The program includes the Vagus Nerve Meditative Massage, is designed to support women, along with lymphatic drainage, reflexology, which may help relieve symptoms of hormonal imbalances and provide relief for hot flashes. Rona Berg, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 Most people don’t have any symptoms until their arteries are already severely clogged. Knvul Sheikh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Feb. 2024 By Jen Christensen | CNN Millions of people deal with Covid–19 symptoms long after their initial infections. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, 13 Feb. 2024 Hepatic encephalopathy can cause signs and symptoms of dementia. Korin Miller, Verywell Health, 12 Feb. 2024 In late 2021, a virtual nurse practitioner Larsen had never seen prescribed her two drugs that can trigger psychotic or manic symptoms when taken together. ProPublica, 31 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'symptom.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of symptom was in 1541

Dictionary Entries Near symptom

Cite this Entry

“Symptom.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/symptom. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

symptom

noun
symp·​tom ˈsim(p)-təm How to pronounce symptom (audio)
1
: a change in a living thing that indicates the presence of a disease or other physical disorder
especially : one (as a headache) that can be felt or sensed only by the individual affected
2
: something that shows that something else exists : indication
symptomless adjective

Medical Definition

symptom

noun
symp·​tom ˈsim(p)-təm How to pronounce symptom (audio)
: 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
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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