One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Affected with or characteristic of dropsy; oedematous.‘enormous dropsical ankles’figurative ‘if Rubens's women are ample, these are dropsical’
expanded, distended, bulging, inflamed, inflated, enlarged, dilated, bloated, blown-up, puffed up, puffy, ballooning, protruding, prominent, stretched, tumescentView synonyms
- ‘She is enfeebled, dropsical, perpetually damp from cooking and cleaning, toothless, and refuses to wear false teeth (Janet remarks that Mother can never find comfortable teeth).’
- ‘His big and dropsical head, disproportionate to his emaciated body, leans against his mother's shoulder, his eyes blinking weakly.’
- ‘This results in generalized oedema - or ‘dropsical effusion’ as it was called in the 1820s by Richard Bright, in his classic description of chronic nephritis (Bright's disease).’
Late 17th century: from dropsy, replacing earlier hydropic(al), via Latin from Greek hudrōps ‘dropsy’.
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