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 The district has warned students and staff to stay home for at least 48 hours after symptoms of the stomach virus end. oregonlive, "Widespread stomach virus shuts down an Oregon elementary school, school officials say," 25 Nov. 2019 Patients will usually arrive at the emergency room with severe abdominal pain, intense vomiting and dehydration — the typical symptoms of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS)., "Janis should know: Not only is she a psychiatrist, but she is also the medical director for the Minnesota-based medicinal cannabis firm, LeafLine Labs.," 25 Nov. 2019 Light therapy generally has a positive effect within a few days to a few weeks, and appears to be effective for most people in relieving symptoms of SAD. Sherri Leimkuhler,, "Leimkuhler: SAD can be part of the season," 24 Nov. 2019 Justice Ginsburg’s symptoms abated after treatment with intravenous antibiotics and fluids, Ms. Arberg said, adding the justice expected to be released from the hospital as early as Sunday morning. Adam Liptak, New York Times, "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospitalized," 23 Nov. 2019 This process can go on for months or even years before someone develops symptoms, the CDC says. Korin Miller,, "What Causes Type 1 Diabetes? 3 Things You Need to Know, According to Doctors," 22 Nov. 2019 The affected patients were appropriately monitored, and all symptoms and side effects were addressed. Anne Saker,, "Cincinnati Children’s Hospital admits to drug dosage mix-up," 22 Nov. 2019 But over time, as these small injuries add up, more and more lung tissue becomes involved, and symptoms develop. Cosby Stone, The Conversation, "Vitamin E and vaping injuries: What’s safe in your diet is rarely safe in your lungs," 22 Nov. 2019 Still, Dark Waters has plenty in common with one of Haynes’s best films: 1995’s Safe, an uncomfortable psychological drama that stars Julianne Moore as a woman who is suddenly besieged by symptoms that make her day-to-day life complete torture. David Sims, The Atlantic, "A Chilling True Story of Corporate Indifference," 22 Nov. 2019

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

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Symptom.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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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