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

The first case of the mysterious lung illness, in Illinois, came in April, indicating that the syndrome emerged earlier than the mid-June date that federal officials have often cited as the time the afflictions began. Matt Richtel, New York Times, "Cases of Vaping-Related Lung Illness Surge, Health Officials Say," 6 Sep. 2019 The University of Texas at Dallas says the syndrome has been observed in a number of languages. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "Sudden foreign accent, 'werewolf' hair growth: Yes, these odd medical conditions are real," 29 Aug. 2019 The cautious tones of recent economic surveys attest to the syndrome. Dan Walters, The Mercury News, "Walters: Is a severe recession in California inevitable?," 18 Aug. 2019 More likely to die within five years after the syndrome began. NBC News, "Broken heart syndrome may be linked to cancer, study suggests," 17 July 2019 Each episode features two people, one with autism, the other Tourette syndrome, a neurological condition marked by spontaneous physical and verbal outbursts called tics. Caryn M. Sullivan, Twin Cities, "Caryn M. Sullivan: For would-be employees and amenable employers, opportunity for a happy dance," 23 June 2019 The syndrome has myriad causes, including viruses spread by mosquitoes and human contact, bacterial infections, parasites and toxins. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, "Could the humble litchi fruit be behind a mysterious sickness that has killed nearly 100 children in India?," 17 June 2019 On May 25, the World Health Organization (WHO) formally defined the syndrome as energy depletion, exhaustion and negativity resulting from chronic workplace stress. Cassie Shortsleeve, Time, "How to Take a Relaxing Vacation Without Stressing About Work," 4 June 2019 The syndrome, which is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age, was talked about in the writers' room for quite some time before the start of the season. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "This Is Us Season 3 Premiere: Your Biggest Questions, Answered," 26 Sep. 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

18 Sep 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).


concealment of treason or felony

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