tu·​ber·​cu·​lo·​sis | \ tu̇-ˌbər-kyə-ˈlō-səs , tyu̇-\
plural tuberculoses\ tu̇-​ˌbər-​kyə-​ˈlō-​ˌsēz , 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

Yet diseases that used to be controlled, like malaria and tuberculosis, are turning epidemic. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A ‘Military Option’ for Sick Venezuelans," 22 Nov. 2018 The remaining 55 are tests for diseases the W.H.O. considers of highest priority: H.I.V., tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HPV and syphilis. New York Times, "For First Time, W.H.O. Names Some Lab Tests ‘Essential’," 21 May 2018 The North Korean government has publicly worried about the effects on tuberculosis and malaria infection rates. Jeremy Youde, Washington Post, "North Korea has a big tuberculosis problem. It’s about to get worse.," 12 Apr. 2018 Injuries are common, and the constant breathing in of fine particles can lead to respiratory conditions like asthma, silicosis, and tuberculosis. Jocelyn C. Zuckerman, Marie Claire, "Is Your Makeup the Result of Child Labor?," 16 Oct. 2018 While tuberculosis has been successfully contained with the help of modern medicine in many rich countries, instances of the disease remain high in poorer nations. Frank Jordans, The Seattle Times, "Governments to discuss tackling tuberculosis at UN summit," 25 Sep. 2018 The first mention of asbestos in a medical journal came in the British Medical Journal in 1924, when Willian Cooke was studying illness and death from fibrosis of the lungs and tuberculosis among workers in an asbestos spinning room. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "What Is Asbestos, And Why Did We Use It So Much?," 7 Aug. 2018 People who were on the campuses of Grossmont College or Cuyamaca College from Jan. 30 through April 24 may have been exposed to tuberculosis, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. Karen Pearlman,, "Possible TB exposure a concern at community college campuses," 9 May 2018 Surprisingly, however, suPAR also predicted mortality in patients who didn't have AIDS; many turned out to have tuberculosis. Stephen S. Hall, Science | AAAS, "What's your risk of kidney disease, heart attack, or diabetes? A single molecule can tell," 19 Apr. 2018

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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9 Feb 2019

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The first known use of tuberculosis was in 1839

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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 , 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 \
plural tuberculoses\ -​ˌsēz \

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

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to deny responsibility for

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