tu·​ber·​cu·​lo·​sis | \ tu̇-ˌbər-kyə-ˈlō-səs How to pronounce tuberculosis (audio) , tyu̇- \
plural tuberculoses\ tu̇-​ˌbər-​kyə-​ˈlō-​ˌsēz How to pronounce tuberculosis (audio) , tyu̇-​ \

Definition of tuberculosis

: a highly variable communicable disease of humans and some other vertebrates that is caused by the tubercle bacillus and rarely in the U.S. by a related mycobacterium (Mycobacterium bovis), that affects especially the lungs but may spread to other areas (such as the kidney or spinal column), and that is characterized by fever, cough, difficulty in breathing, formation of tubercles, caseation, pleural effusions, and fibrosis

Examples of tuberculosis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sullivan is concerned about Reed's health, after the former Marine was moved to a hospital with tuberculosis-like symptoms, the ambassador said. Zahra Ullah And Mia Alberti, CNN, 12 Apr. 2022 The coronavirus is one possibility, but there’s also tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Los Angeles Times, 12 Dec. 2020 The incidence rate for tuberculosis in Alaska is nearly four times the national average. Emily Schwing, Anchorage Daily News, 8 May 2022 Undergoing a medical screening for tuberculosis within 14 days of arriving in the United States. Chris Cameron, New York Times, 25 Apr. 2022 One daughter, who was already suffering from tuberculosis, died of meningitis, while another lived only a few hours after her birth. Stanley Stewart, Travel + Leisure, 24 Apr. 2022 Up until World War II, Mayberry said, more than one-third of residents in Colorado Springs had tuberculosis. Washington Post, 23 Mar. 2022 The couple, who lived in New York, were seeking an escape while Anna recovered from tuberculosis. Chadd Scott, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2022 Two of the women had tuberculosis, and two others were pregnant. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of tuberculosis

1839, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tuberculosis

New Latin

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The first known use of tuberculosis was in 1839

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Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tuberculosis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for tuberculosis


tu·​ber·​cu·​lo·​sis | \ tu̇-ˌbər-kyə-ˈlō-səs How to pronounce tuberculosis (audio) , tyu̇- \

Kids Definition of tuberculosis

: a serious disease that mostly affects the lungs and in which there is fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing


tu·​ber·​cu·​lo·​sis | \ t(y)u̇-ˌbər-kyə-ˈlō-səs How to pronounce tuberculosis (audio) \
plural tuberculoses\ -​ˌsēz How to pronounce tuberculosis (audio) \

Medical Definition of tuberculosis

: a usually chronic highly variable disease that is caused by a bacterium of the genus Mycobacterium (M. tuberculosis) and rarely in the United States by a related mycobacterium (M. bovis), is usually communicated by inhalation of the airborne causative agent, affects especially the lungs but may spread to other areas (as the kidney or spinal column) from local lesions or by way of the lymph or blood vessels, and is characterized by fever, cough, difficulty in breathing, inflammatory infiltrations, formation of tubercles, caseation, pleural effusion, and fibrosis

called also TB

More from Merriam-Webster on tuberculosis

Nglish: Translation of tuberculosis for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tuberculosis for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about tuberculosis


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