syn·​drome | \ ˈsin-ˌdrōm How to pronounce syndrome (audio) also -drəm How to pronounce syndrome (audio) \

Definition of syndrome

1 : a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterize a particular abnormality or condition
2 : a set of concurrent things (such as emotions or actions) that usually form an identifiable pattern

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Combining its two Greek roots, syndrome means basically "running together". So when diagnosing a condition or disease, doctors tend to look for a group of symptoms existing together. As long as a set of symptoms remains mysterious, it may be referred to as a specific syndrome. But if that name is used for a while, it may become the condition's permanent name, even after an underlying cause has been found. So today we have Down syndrome, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, Asperger's syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, Tourette's syndrome, sick building syndrome, and many more. And since mental conditions often turn out to have physical causes, syndrome is used in psychology as well as in medicine.

Examples of syndrome in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Mast cell activation syndrome can cause an immediate allergic reaction including anaphylaxis, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Lisa Respers France, CNN, 11 May 2022 Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by nerve compression in the wrist. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 10 May 2022 Anyone who's interested in hearing about imposter syndrome could sign up for my session. Kevin Kruse, Forbes, 6 May 2022 In 2001, she was hit by a drunk driver and underwent numerous surgeries, leaving her with a rare and painful spinal cord disorder as well as short gut syndrome. Raleigh Mcelvery, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 May 2022 Ultimately, Pfaff said, those classifiers could be used to support recruitment for prospective studies of the syndrome and potential treatments. Casey Ross And Katie Palmer, STAT, 4 May 2022 Carrie Ann has previously revealed details about her multiple autoimmune diseases and health issues, like lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome and fibromyalgia. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, 4 May 2022 Doctors diagnosed Ross with the spinal condition Klippel-Feil syndrome. Mark Inabinett |, al, 2 May 2022 Not all lone star tick bites produce alpha-gal syndrome. Kevin Ambrose, Anchorage Daily News, 2 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'syndrome.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of syndrome

1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for syndrome

New Latin, from Greek syndromē combination, syndrome, from syn- + dramein to run — more at dromedary

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Time Traveler for syndrome

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The first known use of syndrome was in 1541

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Syndrome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for syndrome


syn·​drome | \ ˈsin-ˌdrōm also -drəm \

Medical Definition of syndrome

: a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterize a particular abnormality


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