syn·​drome | \ ˈsin-ˌdrōm 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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Did You Know?

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

Louie suffers from Angelman syndrome, a rare neuro-genetic disorder that affects about one in 12,000 babies worldwide. Shelley Levitt, Woman's Day, "These 4 Inspirational Women Went to Great Lengths for Their Kids," 4 Dec. 2018 Yet another theory compares tinnitus to chronic pain syndrome, according to the NIDCD, a condition where someone continues to feel pain after the initial source of pain (like a broken bone) heals. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What Is Tinnitus?," 30 Jan. 2019 And the University of California, Los Angeles, has focused on Usher syndrome 1B caused by a mutation in MYO7A. Caren Chesler, Popular Mechanics, "A Vision Quest," 6 Mar. 2019 In September, the 11-year-old from Red Bluff, Calif. — who was born without a right hand, also the result of amniotic band syndrome — opened the lime green gift bag and pulled out a Shaquem Griffin jersey. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin keeps telling his story so that kids like these can tell theirs," 21 Nov. 2018 In two patients who got a medium dose of the treatment, urine levels of large sugar compounds that are hallmarks of Hunter syndrome had fallen by half, on average, four months later — a possible sign the treatment is working. Fox News, "Early results boost hopes for historic gene editing attempt," 7 Sep. 2018 Finally, in 1994, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognized the diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome in the fourth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). Simon Baron-cohen, Scientific American, "The Truth About Hans Asperger’s Nazi Collusion," 17 May 2018 That, again, is uncomfortably evocative of the Japan syndrome. Bill Powell, Newsweek, "Is This the End of China's Economic Miracle?," 26 Nov. 2014 Griffin — a 6-foot, 227-pound rookie linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks — was born with amniotic band syndrome, a congenital disorder that disrupted the development of the fingers on his left hand. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin keeps telling his story so that kids like these can tell theirs," 21 Nov. 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for syndrome

Last Updated

17 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for syndrome

The first known use of syndrome was in 1541

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More Definitions for syndrome



English Language Learners Definition of syndrome

: a disease or disorder that involves a particular group of signs and symptoms


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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More from Merriam-Webster on syndrome

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with syndrome

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for syndrome

Spanish Central: Translation of syndrome

Nglish: Translation of syndrome for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of syndrome for Arabic Speakers

Comments on syndrome

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


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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