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 Patients reported symptoms of coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, and in some instances, vomiting or diarrhea. Anchorage Daily News, "California man is seventh person to die from suspected vape-related illness," 17 Sep. 2019 At least 21 dogs have died after exhibiting symptoms of vomiting and bloody diarrhea, Norwegian Veterinary Institute Emergency and Safety Director Jorun Jarp told public broadcaster NRK on Friday. Fox News, "Mysterious disease that has killed nearly two dozen dogs in Norway has officials racing for answers," 10 Sep. 2019 About 10% of people who develop neurological symptoms from West Nile virus will die, the MDHHS reports. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "2 metro Detroit blood donors test positive for West Nile virus," 5 Sep. 2019 Most infected people, however, don’t exhibit any symptoms. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Two first cases of human West Nile Virus in Weld County confirmed this season," 30 Aug. 2019 People who develop symptoms are urged to stay home and contact a health care provider by phone. Chelsea Curtis, azcentral, "Arizona Mills theater, Gila River Arena cited as additional locations for possible measles exposure, officials say," 26 Aug. 2019 In an alert sent to medical professionals, the ADPH said patients are reporting symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath and fatigue. Leada Gore |, al, "Alabama doctors asked to report vaping-related lung illnesses as number of cases grows," 23 Aug. 2019 Wisconsin state health officials say both pediatric and adult patients are exhibiting symptoms including shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, cough and weight loss. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Nearly 100 People Have Reported Lung Diseases That May Be Linked to Vaping, and the CDC Is Getting Involved," 19 Aug. 2019 But estimates based on repeats are sometimes inaccurate, leading people to develop symptoms either earlier or later than expected. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Huntington’s disease triggered by genetic instability in brain cells, study finds," 15 Aug. 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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Statistics for symptom

Last Updated

31 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for symptom

The first known use of symptom was in 1541

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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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Comments on symptom

What made you want to look up symptom? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not being in agreement or harmony

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