- Syphilis is a bacterial venereal disease usually contracted during sexual intercourse.
A sexually transmitted disease that causes an ulcer on the genitals is an example ofsyphilis.
syphilis definition by Webster's New World
Origin: Modern Latin ; from Syphilis sive Morbus Gallicus, literally , Syphilis or the French disease, title of a poem (1530) by Girolamo Fracastoro: after the hero Syphilus, a shepherd
- syphilitic adjective, noun
syphilis definition by American Heritage Dictionary
Origin: New Latin, from “Syphilis, sive Morbus Gallicus,” “Syphilis, or the French Disease,” title of a poem by Girolamo Fracastoro (1478?-1553), from Syphilus, the poem's protagonist.Word History: In 1530 Girolamo Fracastoro, a physician, astronomer, and poet of Verona, published a poem entitled “Syphilis, sive Morbus Gallicus,” translated as “Syphilis, or the French Disease.” In Fracastoro's poem the name of this dreaded venereal disease is an altered form of the name of the hero Syphilus, a shepherd who is supposed to have been the first victim of the disease. Where the name Syphilus itself came from is not known for certain, but it has been suggested that Fracastoro borrowed it from Ovid's Metamorphoses. In Ovid's work Sipylus (spelled Siphylus in some manuscripts) is the oldest son of Niobe, who lived not far from Mount Sipylon in Asia Minor. Fracastoro's poem about Syphilus was modeled on the story of Niobe. Fracastoro went on to use the term syphilis again in his medical treatise De Contagione, published in 1546. The word that Fracastoro used in Latin was eventually borrowed into English, being first recorded in 1718.
syphilis - Cultural Definition
A sexually transmitted disease caused by a microorganism. In its initial stages (called primary syphilis), it is manifested by a skin ulcer called a chancre. If the disease is not treated by penicillin or other antibiotics, the infection becomes chronic. In so-called tertiary syphilis, virtually any tissue in the body can be damaged, including the cardiovascular and nervous systems. The disease, if left untreated, can cause blindness, mental illness, and death.
syphilis - Medical Definition
syphilis - Science Definition