Definition of variola
: smallpox; also : its causative poxvirus (species Variola virus of the genus Orthopoxvirus)
Origin and Etymology of variola
borrowed from Medieval Latin, “pustule, pox,” going back to Late Latin, “pustule,” from varius “affected by pox, leprous” (adjective derivative of varus “pimple” + Latin -ola, variant of -ula -ule after vowels — more at varix ◆Late Latin varius is very likely independent of classical varius “having contrasting colors, varied” (see 1various).
First Known Use: 1543
Learn More about variola
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up variola? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).