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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Everyone assumed the fellow had Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), caused by a dangerous coronavirus that had arisen in the country two years earlier. Daniel Wrapp, Science, "They spent 12 years solving a puzzle. It yielded the first COVID-19 vaccines.," 31 Dec. 2020 Aaron, who has Asperger syndrome, was making friends at school. Wsj Staff, WSJ, "Covid-19 Deals Different Hands for Family Finances," 29 Dec. 2020 The syndrome plays out differently in different individuals, with some showing neurological signs such as lack of coordination and seizures, and others suffering gastrointestinal distress—or both. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, "Pathogen Discovered That Kills Endangered Chimps; Is It a Threat to Humans?," 3 Feb. 2021 Chronic fatigue syndrome isn't known to have a single agent as its trigger, but as Velasquez-Manoff notes, chronic-fatigue-like symptoms have long been linked to viral infections, from the recent SARS and H1N1 pandemics to the 1918 Spanish flu. Ross Douthat, Star Tribune, "Long-haul COVID and the chronic illness debate," 2 Feb. 2021 Many develop an inability to stand without dizziness, known as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, "The Forever Disease: How Covid-19 Became a Chronic Condition," 2 Feb. 2021 In April, scientists found that the drug could also treat mice infected with other coronaviruses that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome. Carl Zimmer,, "How the search for COVID-19 treatments faltered while vaccines sped ahead," 30 Jan. 2021 Like myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome, post-Covid syndrome is a disease that baffles most doctors. Shayna Skarf, STAT, "Denied treatment, some Covid long-haulers could become lifelong-haulers," 28 Jan. 2021 The syndrome often manifests in rashes, across the body and in hands and feet, or in chronic abdominal pain and aches, in addition to other symptoms. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, "How to Best Treat COVID-19 Symptoms at Home, According to Experts," 11 Jan. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about syndrome

Time Traveler for syndrome

Time Traveler

The first known use of syndrome was in 1541

See more words from the same year

Statistics for syndrome

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Syndrome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!