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 tuberculoses (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 1934, Yvonne died of complications from tuberculosis, leaving behind a husband, Colonel Joseph Billot, and a seven-year-old son, Freddy. Lauren Collins, The New Yorker, "Was Jeanne Calment the Oldest Person Who Ever Lived—or a Fraud?," 10 Feb. 2020 In 2005 and 2006, 53 patients who checked into a rural South Africa hospital turned out to be infected with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB). Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, "Scientists Solve a Deadly TB Mystery," 28 Jan. 2020 In a typical 24-hour shift in September, Zimba, 38, treated patients with pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrhea complicated by HIV. Oliver Staley, Quartz Africa, "Zambia has 17 million people, a stroke epidemic, and no neurologists," 30 Dec. 2019 Over the decades, the germ-killing drugs have saved millions of lives by making it possible to eradicate tuberculosis, pneumonia and other bacterial infections that had been scourges for millennia. David Freeman, NBC News, "Antibiotics are losing their power against deadly infections. Can we fix the problem?," 10 Oct. 2019 What effects the rule will have on HIV, tuberculosis, and other health issues in Mozambique, and around the world, is still unknown. Melody Schreiber, The New Republic, "The Growing Toll of the Global Gag Rule," 3 July 2019 That's a bit more than ordinary flu but far less than some other respiratory diseases such as whooping cough and tuberculosis. Ken Moritsugu, Anchorage Daily News, "Health experts: Human-to-human spread of new virus worrying," 30 Jan. 2020 The statute is intended to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Elk found dead from eating corn in northern Wisconsin," 10 Jan. 2020 But its protection against pulmonary tuberculosis — which spreads through airborne particles and is the primary form of TB in adolescents and adults — varies wildly. Megan Thielking, STAT, "Delivering the TB vaccine by IV better protects monkeys, new study finds," 1 Jan. 2020

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

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The first known use of tuberculosis was in 1839

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Statistics for tuberculosis

Last Updated

23 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tuberculosis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce tuberculosis (audio)

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 tuberculoses (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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