syphilis

noun
syph·​i·​lis | \ ˈsi-f(ə-)ləs How to pronounce syphilis (audio) \

Definition of syphilis

: a chronic contagious usually venereal and often congenital disease caused by a spirochete (Treponema pallidum) and if left untreated producing chancres, rashes, and systemic lesions in a clinical course with three stages continued over many years — compare primary syphilis, secondary syphilis, tertiary syphilis

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from syphilis

syphilitic \ ˌsi-​fə-​ˈli-​tik How to pronounce syphilitic (audio) \ adjective or noun

Examples of syphilis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web People recoiled from his blisters and oozing sores and chalked up Marat’s painful condition to everything from syphilis to a dangerous temperament. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "What can 200-year-old DNA tell us about a murdered French revolutionary?," 20 Nov. 2019 In August, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city’s Department of Public Health launched a task force to help reduce syphilis cases. Alison Bowen, chicagotribune.com, "More people are getting STDs. And more people are finding partners online. Are the two connected?," 15 Oct. 2019 The old story that his breakdown stemmed from syphilis is now widely doubted; a likelier explanation is a hereditary neurological or vascular disorder. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Nietzsche’s Eternal Return," 7 Oct. 2019 Uniontown isn’t far from Tuskegee, the site of the notorious syphilis study performed on black men in the mid-1900s. Anna Claire Vollers | Avollers@al.com, al, "Rural healthcare isn’t easy. Here’s how one Alabama woman bridges gaps in the Black Belt," 29 Dec. 2019 Tuberculosis remains a part of the screening, along with communicable diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea and leprosy. Sophie Chou, ProPublica, "Despite Audit, Doctors With Checkered Records Can Still Decide Fate of Green Card Seekers," 12 Dec. 2019 Once nearly eliminated in the US, cases of syphilis are now rising yearly. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Some crowdsource their STD diagnosis on the internet. Here's why that's dangerous to everyone," 5 Nov. 2019 There were record numbers of cases recorded in all of the three most common STDs: syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. Meredith Cohn, baltimoresun.com, "‘More must be done’: STD cases in Maryland mostly outpacing those nationally," 16 Oct. 2019 There were 22 stillbirths or neonatal deaths because of syphilis last year, the report said. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Report finds cases of STDs reach 30-year high in California," 8 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'syphilis.' 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 syphilis

1653, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for syphilis

New Latin, from Syphilus, hero of the poem Syphilis sive Morbus Gallicus (Syphilis or the French disease) (1530) by Girolamo Fracastoro †1553 Italian poet and physician

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about syphilis

Time Traveler for syphilis

Time Traveler

The first known use of syphilis was in 1653

See more words from the same year

Statistics for syphilis

Last Updated

22 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Syphilis.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/syphilis. Accessed 28 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for syphilis

syphilis

noun
How to pronounce syphilis (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of syphilis

medical : a very serious disease that is spread through sexual intercourse

syphilis

noun
syph·​i·​lis | \ ˈsif-(ə-)ləs How to pronounce syphilis (audio) \

Medical Definition of syphilis

: a chronic contagious usually venereal and often congenital disease that is caused by a spirochete of the genus Treponema (T. pallidum) and if left untreated produces chancres, rashes, and systemic lesions in a clinical course with three stages continued over many years

called also lues

— see primary syphilis, secondary syphilis, tertiary syphilis

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on syphilis

Spanish Central: Translation of syphilis

Nglish: Translation of syphilis for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of syphilis for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about syphilis

Comments on syphilis

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

WORD OF THE DAY

showing steady, earnest care and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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