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 In the refugee camps in Bangladesh, workers use the portable tablet to screen for high blood pressure, diabetes, tuberculosis, malnutrition in children, and pregnancy complications., "Helping the helpless: Brown University’s Dr. Ruhul Abid brings health care to Rohingya refugees," 25 Mar. 2021 The disease is just one among many that people in India worry about, joining tuberculosis, dengue fever and avian flu. Emily Schmall, New York Times, "India Battles a Second Covid-19 Wave and Vaccine Skepticism," 21 Mar. 2021 Millions have died in those deadly pandemics, but their toll pales in comparison with that of tuberculosis (TB), which has killed more than 1 billion people over the past 2000 years—and still kills 1.5 million people worldwide every year. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, "How tuberculosis reshaped our immune systems," 4 Mar. 2021 Patients suffering from tuberculosis, rheumatism and gout flocked to the property’s three turn-of-the-20th-century soaking pools, surrounded by rocks and palm trees. Mickey Rapkin, WSJ, "The Perfect Domestic Getaway After a Stressful Year," 2 Mar. 2021 And Robert Koch had identified the microorganisms that cause tuberculosis, cholera, and anthrax. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, "We’re Just Rediscovering a 19th-Century Pandemic Strategy," 22 Feb. 2021 During that epidemic, more people died due to reductions in treatment of tuberculosis, HIV, and malaria than from the Ebola virus itself. Popular Science, "COVID-19 could make malaria surge, but African aid workers are fighting back," 7 Jan. 2021 But Trump went one further, expanding the restriction to apply to foreign organizations receiving any US health funding, including money destined for programs on nutrition, malaria, tuberculosis, tropical diseases and child health. Caitlin Hu, Kareem Khadder And Sugam Pokharel, CNN, "Thousands of miles away, their lives may depend on the US election too," 3 Nov. 2020 Aside from running the nonprofit research institute, Schlesinger’s work on tuberculosis has been funded for more than 30 years by the National Institutes of Health and others including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Laura Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio infectious disease expert and Texas Biomed CEO nabs honor for global impact," 22 Mar. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of tuberculosis

1839, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tuberculosis

New Latin

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Time Traveler for tuberculosis

Time Traveler

The first known use of tuberculosis was in 1839

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Statistics for tuberculosis

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tuberculosis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of tuberculosis

medical : a serious disease that mainly affects the lungs


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

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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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