Definition of phthisis in US English:



  • Pulmonary tuberculosis or a similar progressive systemic disease.

    • ‘Tuberculosis, first known as phthisis or consumption, has been recognized as a leading cause of American deaths for as long as records have been kept.’
    • ‘Death rates from silicosis, miners' phthisis, and tubercular diseases were very high on the Rand.’
    • ‘In fact he had died there from phthisis on 9 December 1886: the death certificate describes him as a ‘musician’.’
    • ‘He learned to recognize pneumonia, bronchiectasis, pleurisy, emphysema, pneumothorax, phthisis, and other lung diseases from the sounds he heard with his stethoscope.’
    • ‘Several other events have acted to reignite the old problem known as phthisis, consumption, or the white plague (named for the pallor it causes).’
    thinness, boniness, scrawniness, skinniness, scragginess
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Mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek, from phthinein ‘to decay’.