Definition of shingles in US English:


plural noun

  • treated as singular An acute, painful inflammation of the nerve ganglia, with a skin eruption often forming a girdle around the middle of the body. It is caused by the same virus as chickenpox.

    Also called herpes zoster
    • ‘It may also help relieve pain from nerves damaged by shingles or diabetes.’
    • ‘Herpes is caused by herpes simplex viruses, which are similar to the viruses that cause chickenpox and shingles.’
    • ‘The medical name for chickenpox is varicella zoster and for shingles it is herpes zoster.’
    • ‘Doug's symptoms might also have been caused by herpes zoster or shingles virus which can also affect the facial nerve.’
    • ‘The herbs in this formula all have active antiviral properties and are effective against herpes, shingles, flu, warts, and other viral infections.’
    • ‘However, 10% to 20% of people who've had chickenpox develop shingles later in life.’
    • ‘With age, the weakening immune system may allow the virus to re-emerge as shingles: a painful rash that causes pain lasting for months or years.’
    • ‘If you've ever had chicken pox, you may suffer from shingles or herpes zoster.’
    • ‘Herpes zoster, commonly called shingles, means a girdle in the old sense of a belt.’
    • ‘If you have a history of cold sores, shingles or herpes, your doctor can prescribe a medication to prevent these infections after laser surgery.’
    • ‘Therefore, if the vaccine afforded protection for life, there would be a very strong argument in favor of universal vaccination - no chicken pox and no shingles.’
    • ‘Chickenpox and shingles are caused by a virus called the Herpes Zoster virus.’
    • ‘Each year, 600,000 or more Americans are diagnosed with shingles, a painful skin disease caused by a reactivation of the chickenpox virus.’
    • ‘Adults, particularly older ones or those with a run-down immune system, can however also contract shingles (herpes zoster) from a child with chickenpox.’
    • ‘If your immune system is weakened and you come into contact with someone who has active chickenpox or shingles, you should tell you GP.’
    • ‘Recruits were asked about prior chickenpox or shingles, with details recorded.’
    • ‘When the virus reaches the skin, it produces a rash and blisters, known as shingles (herpes zoster).’
    • ‘Chickenpox and shingles were known to be related, but how?’
    • ‘As you get older or if your immune system gets weak, the chickenpox virus may escape from the nerve cells and cause shingles.’


Late Middle English: representing medieval Latin cingulus, variant of Latin cingulum ‘girdle’, from cingere ‘gird’.