Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

Specific medical conditions

acidity

noun

a medical condition in which the liquid in the stomach becomes too acid and makes you feel uncomfortable

acne

noun

a medical condition in which your face is covered in spots. It mainly affects teenagers.

ADD

noun

attention deficit disorder: a medical condition that makes someone more active than normal, makes it difficult for them to concentrate, and causes problems with their behaviour

ADHD

noun

attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a medical condition that makes someone more active than normal, makes it difficult for them to concentrate, and causes problems with their behaviour

alcoholism

noun

a medical condition that makes it difficult for you to control the amount of alcohol you drink

allergy

noun

a medical condition in which you become sick or your skin becomes covered with red marks as a reaction to something you eat, breathe, or touch

alopecia

noun

a condition in which someone’s hair falls out

amenorrhoea

noun

a medical condition in which a woman who is not pregnant does not menstruate (=produce a flow of blood once a month)

amnesia

noun

a medical condition that makes you unable to remember things, often caused by damage to the brain

anaemia

noun

a medical condition in which your blood contains too few red blood cells (=the cells that carry oxygen through the body)

anaphylactic shock

noun

a serious medical reaction caused by someone eating or touching something that they are allergic to (=something that makes them ill). Common causes are nuts, eggs, and drugs such as penicillin.

anaphylaxis

noun

anaphylactic shock

anemia

an American spelling of anaemia

aneurysm

noun

a serious swelling in the wall of an artery (=tube carrying blood around the body)

angina

noun

a medical condition in which not enough blood gets to your heart, so that you get pains in your chest

aphasia

noun

a medical condition in which you are unable to use or understand some words, caused by damage to the brain

arteriosclerosis

noun

a serious medical condition in which the sides of the arteries become thick, hard, and stiff, so that your heart has to work harder to force blood through your body

arthritis

noun

a medical condition affecting your joints (=the place where two bones meet) making them very swollen and painful

asthma

noun

a medical condition that makes it difficult to breathe

atrophy

noun

a medical condition in which a part of your body becomes weaker or smaller because you are not using it or because blood is not reaching it

the bends

noun

a serious and painful condition that divers get if they come up from under the water too quickly

brain death

noun

a state in which someone’s brain has stopped working, so that they are in fact dead, even though a machine may continue to make their heart work

brittle bone disease

noun

osteoporosis

carpal tunnel syndrome

noun

a medical condition in which a nerve in your wrist is squeezed and your hand hurts

catalepsy

noun

a medical condition in which you become unconscious and your body becomes stiff and fixed in position

catarrh

noun

a medical condition in which your nose and throat become blocked with a thick liquid called mucus, usually when you have a cold

catatonia

noun

a medical condition in which you cannot move or control your movements as a result of illness or shock

cauliflower ear

noun

a medical condition in which someone’s ear is permanently swollen, usually because of an injury

cerebral palsy

noun

a medical condition affecting someone’s control over their movement and speech, usually caused by damage to their brain before or during birth

CF

abbreviation

cystic fibrosis

cleft palate

noun

a medical condition in which there is a narrow space inside someone’s mouth at the top, so that it is difficult for them to speak clearly

club foot

noun

a medical condition in which someone’s foot is twisted to one side

coeliac disease

noun

a medical condition in which the body cannot digest food (=use and get rid of it properly) that contains gluten (=wheat protein)

colitis

noun

a painful medical condition that affects your colon (=the tube that takes waste food out of your body)

congestion

noun

a condition in which a part of your body is blocked with blood or another liquid

crabs

noun

a medical condition in which you have very small insects in your pubic hair

cumulative trauma disorder

noun

repetitive strain injury

curvature

noun

a medical condition in which a part of your body, usually your back, is curved too much

cystic fibrosis

noun

a serious medical condition that makes it very difficult for you to breathe and mainly affects children

decompression sickness

noun

a serious medical condition that affects divers who come up to the surface of water too quickly

deep vein thrombosis

noun

a serious medical condition in which a clot (=mass of thick blood) forms in a vein or artery

delirium tremens

noun

a serious medical condition caused by drinking too much alcohol. Delirium tremens is often called the DTs.

dermatitis

noun

a medical condition in which parts of your skin become red and sore or covered in spots

diabesity

noun

the combination of diabetes, obesity and the associated health problems

diabetes

noun

a serious medical condition in which your body does not produce enough insulin to reduce the amount of sugar in the blood

Down’s syndrome

noun

a medical condition that someone is born with, that makes them develop in a different way from most people, mentally and physically. Down’s syndrome is often simply called Down’s.

dropsy

noun

the medical condition oedema

DVT

noun

deep vein thrombosis

dwarfism

noun

the condition of being much smaller than an average person and having arms and legs that are short compared to the body

dyslexia

noun

a medical condition affecting the brain that makes it difficult for someone to read and spell words correctly

dystrophy

noun

a condition in which a part of your body gradually becomes weaker

eating disorder

noun

a medical condition such as anorexia or bulimia in which someone tries to control their weight in a way that makes them ill

eclampsia

noun

a medical condition in which a pregnant woman with high blood pressure has convulsions (=violent uncontrolled movements)

economy class syndrome

noun

deep vein thrombosis

eczema

noun

a medical condition that makes your skin dry, sore, and itchy

epilepsy

noun

a serious medical condition that affects the brain and makes you suddenly shake in an uncontrolled way or become unconscious

exposure

noun

the harmful effect of very cold weather on your body

fever

noun

a medical condition in which the temperature of your body is very high and you feel ill

frostbite

noun

a medical condition in which cold weather seriously damages your fingers, toes, ears, or nose

gallstone

noun

a small hard mass that can form in your gall bladder

gangrene

noun

a serious medical condition in which a part of someone’s body decays when the blood stops flowing to it because of an injury or disease

gingivitis

noun

a medical condition that makes your gums painful

globesity

noun

the global problem of the number of people who are overweight or obese

glue ear

noun

a medical condition in which a thick substance inside your ear makes it difficult for you to hear. It mainly affects young children.

grand mal

noun

a serious form of epilepsy

haemorrhage

noun

an occasion when blood flows out of an injured organ inside someone’s body, rather than out of their body through a cut in the skin

haemorrhoids

noun

painful swollen areas around your anus (=the hole where solid waste comes out of your body). An informal name for haemorrhoids is piles.

halitosis

noun

a medical condition in which your breath has a very unpleasant smell. A more usual word is bad breath.

hare lip

noun

a cleft palate

hay fever

noun

a medical condition caused by pollen (=powder produced by flowers) that affects your nose and eyes as if you had a bad cold

heart disease

noun

a serious medical condition affecting your heart

heart failure

noun

a serious medical condition in which your heart does not work properly

heat exhaustion

noun

the feeling of being extremely tired and weak that you get when you do too much physical activity in hot conditions

heatstroke

noun

a serious medical condition caused by doing too much physical activity in hot weather

hemorrhoids

the American spelling of haemorrhoids

hernia

noun

a medical condition in which an organ pushes itself through the wall of muscles around it

hives

noun

a medical condition in which you get red itchy spots on your skin, often because you have eaten a particular food. The medical name for this is urticaria.

hole in the heart

noun

a medical condition in which someone is born with a small hole in one of the parts that divide the different areas of their heart

hyperglycaemia

noun

a medical condition in which someone has too much sugar in their blood

hypertension

noun

a condition in which your blood pressure is extremely high

hypoglycaemia

noun

a medical condition in which someone has a low level of sugar in their blood

hypokalaemia

noun

a medical condition in which someone has a low level of potassium in their blood

hypothermia

noun

a serious medical condition in which your body temperature is very low

hysteria

noun

a medical condition in which someone is unable to control their emotions or behaviour

IBS

noun

irritable bowel syndrome: a medical condition in which you have stomach pains and pass solid waste from your body more or less often than is normal

immunodeficiency

noun

a condition in which your body does not have the normal protection against diseases

impotence

noun

a medical condition in which a man is not able to have sex because his penis does not stay hard

insomnia

noun

a medical condition in which you have difficulty sleeping

irritable bowel syndrome

noun

IBS

malnutrition

noun

a medical condition in which you are weak or ill because you do not eat enough or do not eat enough of the right foods

migraine

noun

a very bad headache that often makes you unable to bear strong light

narcolepsy

noun

a medical condition that makes you fall asleep very suddenly

necrosis

noun

a condition in which part of the body has decayed and no longer works normally

nettle rash

noun

a medical condition that causes large red spots on your skin for a short time

obesity

noun

a condition in which someone is too fat in a way that is dangerous for their health

osteoarthritis

noun

a serious medical condition that affects the parts of your body where your bones join each other, for example your knees, making it difficult for you to move

osteoporosis

noun

a medical condition in which your bones become more likely to break. It often affects older people, especially women.

palsy

noun

a medical condition that makes the muscles in your arms, legs, or face shake

paraplegia

noun

a medical condition in which you cannot move the parts of your body below your waist

peptic ulcer

noun

a small painful area inside your stomach, usually caused by bacteria

persistent vegetative state

noun

a condition in which a person shows no sign of any brain activity, for example following a serious injury, and is kept alive only by the use of medical machines

petit mal

noun

a type of epilepsy that is less serious than grand mal

piles

noun

haemorrhoids

pre-eclampsia

noun

a medical condition that affects pregnant women and quickly becomes dangerous if it is not treated

prolapse

noun

a medical condition in which an organ in your body moves out of its usual position

psoriasis

noun

a medical condition in which your skin becomes red and dry and pieces of dead skin fall off

repetitive strain injury

noun

RSI

rhinitis

noun

a medical condition in which the inside part of your nose becomes red and swollen and produces liquid

RSI

noun

repetitive strain injury: a painful condition of the muscles in the hands and arms, caused by doing repeated small fast movements, for example while typing

senile dementia

noun

dementia

sepsis

noun

infection of your blood or body tissues, especially when this is serious and could kill you

shock

noun

a medical condition in which you suddenly become very weak and cold and do not react normally, especially after a serious accident or injury

sick building syndrome

noun

a medical condition that affects people who work in buildings where the air is not healthy

SIDS

noun

sudden infant death syndrome: a medical condition that causes a baby to die suddenly in its bed

slipped disc

noun

a painful medical condition affecting your back, in which one of the parts that connect the bones in your spine has moved out of its usual place

spina bifida

noun

a serious medical condition in which someone’s spinal cord is damaged, making them paralysed (=unable to move parts of their body)

stroke

noun

a medical condition in which blood is suddenly blocked and cannot reach the brain, or in which a blood vessel in the brain breaks, often causing a loss of the ability to speak or to move particular muscles

swine flu

noun

a disease similar to flu that spreads quickly from one person to another and causes problems such as a sore throat and cough, thought to be related to a virus which infects pigs

synaesthesia

noun

a condition in which two or more of the five senses that most people experience separately are mixed so that, for example, a person may see colour when they hear a particular sound or read a particular word

sudden infant death syndrome

noun

SIDS

sunstroke

noun

a dangerous physical condition that results when your body temperature gets too hot, for example when you have been working for too long in the sun

tennis elbow

noun

a medical condition in which your elbow swells and hurts

thrombosis

noun

a serious medical condition in which your blood gets thicker and forms a clot that stops the blood flowing normally

tinnitus

noun

a medical condition in which you hear a continuous noise in your ears

tunnel vision

noun

a medical condition in which you can only see what is directly in front of you

ulcer

noun

a sore area on the inside of an organ in your body or on your skin that sometimes bleeds or produces a poisonous substance

varicose veins

noun

a medical condition in which the veins in your legs become swollen and sore

immunodeficient

adjective

incontinence

noun

senility

noun

undernourishment

noun

Open Dictionary

selfie stick

an expandable stick which you attach to a mobile phone or camera to help you take a selfie …

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog