- \ \  The disease diphtheria is characterized by the formation of a false membrane in the throat which obstructs breathing, and when the French physician Pierre Bretonneau described it in the 1820s, he coined a name for it based on Greek diphthéra, which means ‘piece of leather’. Using the suffix -itis, denoting inflammation, he formed the modern Latin term diphtheritis (used in English until the 1850s) and its French equivalent diphthérit. He subsequently substituted diphthérie, and this was borrowed into and established in English in the late 1850s when an epidemic of the disease (then also termed Boulogne sore throat, from its first having been observed in Boulogne) struck Britain.
Word origins - 2ed. J. Ayto. 2005.
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Diphtheria — Classification and external resources Diphtheria causes a characteristic swollen neck, sometimes referred to as “bull neck”. ICD 10 A … Wikipedia
Diphtheria — Diph*the ri*a, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ? leather (hence taken in the sense of membrane): cf. ? to make soft, L. depsere to knead.] (Med.) A very dangerous contagious disease in which the air passages, and especially the throat, become coated with a… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
diphtheria — from Fr. diphthérie, coined 1857 by physician Pierre Bretonneau (1778 1862) from Gk. diphthera prepared hide, leather, of unknown origin; the disease so called for the tough membrane that forms in the throat. Bretonneau s earlier name for it was… … Etymology dictionary
diphtheria — the bacterial disease, is spelt with ph and should be pronounced dif , not dip … Modern English usage
diphtheria — ► NOUN ▪ a serious bacterial disease causing inflammation of the mucous membranes, especially in the throat. ORIGIN Greek diphthera skin, hide (referring to the false membrane that forms in the throat) … English terms dictionary
diphtheria — [dif thir′ē ə, dipthir΄ē ə] n. [ModL < Fr diphtherie (so named (1855) by A. Trousseau (1801 67), Fr physician, replacing earlier diphthérite, first used (1821) by P. Bretonneau (1778 1862), Fr physician) < Gr diphthera, leather < dephein … English World dictionary
diphtheria — /dif thear ee euh, dip /, n. Pathol. a febrile, infectious disease caused by the bacillus Corynebacterium diphtheriae, and characterized by the formation of a false membrane in the air passages, esp. the throat. [1850 55; < NL < F diphthérie < Gk … Universalium
Diphtheria — An acute infectious disease that typically strikes the upper respiratory tract including the throat. It is caused by infection with the bacteria Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Symptoms include sore throat and mild fever at first. As the disease… … Medical dictionary
diphtheria — noun VERB + DIPHTHERIA ▪ have, suffer from ▪ catch, contract, get ▪ immunize sb against ▪ Parents are advised to have their children immunized against diphtheria … Collocations dictionary
diphtheria — n. to come down with, contract; prevent diphtheria * * * [dɪf θɪ(ə)rɪə] contract prevent diphtheria to come down with … Combinatory dictionary
diphtheria —  The disease diphtheria is characterized by the formation of a false membrane in the throat which obstructs breathing, and when the French physician Pierre Bretonneau described it in the 1820s, he coined a name for it based on Greek diphthéra … The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins