Definition of dermatitis in US English:



  • A condition of the skin in which it becomes red, swollen, and sore, sometimes with small blisters, resulting from direct irritation of the skin by an external agent or an allergic reaction to it.

    Compare with eczema
    • ‘Eczema, also known as dermatitis, describes skin conditions where there is irritation or inflammation of the skin.’
    • ‘Allergic contact dermatitis improves with removal of the sensitizing agent.’
    • ‘Irritant contact dermatitis is a skin reaction caused by the direct effect of an irritant substance on the skin.’
    • ‘Other conditions that can cause similar symptoms include heat rash, dermatitis or thrush.’
    • ‘Deficiency leads to pellagra, a condition characterized by dermatitis, diarrhea and certain mental health problems.’


Late 19th century: from Greek derma, dermat- ‘skin’ + -itis.