Definition of beriberi in English:



mass noun
  • A disease causing inflammation of the nerves and heart failure, ascribed to a deficiency of vitamin B₁.

    • ‘His body was ridden with disease - beriberi, dysentery and scurvy - and his doctor's prognosis was grim.’
    • ‘This was determined to be one of the vitamins that prevented beriberi, a deficiency disease marked by inflammatory or degenerative changes of the nerves, digestive system and heart.’
    • ‘When they examined the explorers' journals, they found recorded a classic progression of the symptoms of thiamine deficiency, or the disease known as beriberi.’
    • ‘The troops suffered from malaria, dengue fever, beriberi, hookworm and pellagra.’
    • ‘Diseases such as beriberi and malaria have become more common as problems with sanitation have increased.’


Early 18th century: from Sinhalese, from beri ‘weakness’.