Definition of pox in English:



  • 1Any of several viral diseases producing a rash of pimples that become pus-filled and leave pockmarks on healing.

    • ‘These range from Gypsy moths to invasive plants and exotic diseases like West Nile virus and Monkey pox.’
    • ‘The other diseases are things like sheep and goat pox, blue tongue, African swine fever, and one could go on a bit further than that, but I think that's probably enough.’
    • ‘Within four years after the white pox was found, the population of elkhorn coral in Eastern Dry Rocks Reef had decreased by 82 percent.’
    • ‘We next pointed out that the lack of specimens from 1950s provided a fortuitous link with the first published report of pox in California, in which Power and Human documented a severe outbreak at Santa Barbara in 1972.’
    • ‘As an infant, he came down with some kind of pox that savaged even his eyeballs.’
    • ‘In 2003, more than 70 people were infected with monkey pox, a viral infection never before seen in this country, after handling infected prairie dogs sold as pets.’
    • ‘Small-pox may be mistaken for the very little pox or the very big pox (chicken-pox or syphilis).’
    • ‘Other diseases which are spread include the causative agents of avian influenza, salmonella, fowl pox, coccidiosis, botulism and new castle disease.’
    • ‘What we know from animal experiments is that the fowl pox by itself, or the DNA by itself, are not very good vaccines.’
    • ‘On a recent visit to Spain, where turbines have spread like a vicious pox, I learnt that this month 47 vultures headed for the Strait of Gibraltar had been felled by turbine blades.’
    • ‘Avian pox was undoubtedly introduced into Hawaii during the 1800s with the importation of domestic avian stock.’
    • ‘Smallpox was (the WHO declared it eradicated in 1977) a very ancient scourge related to, and possibly deriving from, one of the various animal poxes.’
    • ‘Other diseases that affect the overall health of finches, including pox and Mycoplasma galliceptum, cause males to grow a less red plumage.’
    • ‘The diagnosis was that of ‘bird pox,’ an introduced disease that the Bureau had demonstrated during the previous summer in domestic chickens from Honolulu.’
    • ‘This pox, called the great pox, was in fact syphilis, a widespread health hazard at the time.’
    • ‘That vaccine also protected them from other viruses that are still pretty much limited to other animals, particularly monkey pox.’
    • ‘Although they do not establish causation, our straightforward data and analyses show strong temporal and spatial links between pox and plumage coloration and add potential new insights to work on this interesting species.’
    • ‘Its more dangerous and certainly more filthy than any pox I have ever heard of.’
    • ‘At most media companies, corrections are a pox, a bane on the reporter's existence.’
    • ‘It is one spore in a larger pox, the plundering of oceans worldwide.’
    1. 1.1informal Syphilis.
      • ‘Today we've got pox on the brain; it's syphilis, and the arguments that rage around not only the disease but also the people who may have had it.’
      • ‘Venereal disease, especially syphilis or the pox, also featured prominently in abusive language.’
      • ‘Boswell's father wrote frankly to a female friend that his son had got the pox again; in reply, she noted that the disease had grown quite common.’
    2. 1.2historical Smallpox.
      • ‘The invention was presented as a means of avoiding piles, pox and plague.’
      • ‘And I do mean pox with full medieval connotations.’
      • ‘At those words a doctor arrived, clad in the long leather coat and bird-mask of the Plague Years, reeking of pox and fire though London had known neither in more than a lifetime.’


  • a pox on

    • archaic Used as a curse.

      ‘a pox on both their houses!’
      • ‘Procrastination is a pox on almost every artist I know, and while we keep the beast at bay by being parents and having the limits of childcare imposed on our time, the temptation to look away from creative work is great.’
      • ‘And a pox on him, for reminding me of the damn song.’
      • ‘A pox on the naysayers who think network television is incapable of producing original, intelligent, adult drama.’
      • ‘A pox on him for showing up and ruining my dinner.’
      • ‘It's understandable if your response to this breathless battle between corporate giants is to pray for a pox on both their houses.’


Late Middle English: alteration of pocks, plural of pock.