American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A tropical fever once believed to be caused by the heat.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A kind of delirium sometimes caused, especially within the tropics, by exposure to excessive heat, particularly on board ship.
- n. Figuratively, fever; burning passion or zeal; heat: as, the “calenture of primitive devotion,” ; “the calentures of baneful lust,”
- n. A heat stroke or fever, often suffered in the tropics.
- n. A delirium occurring from such symptoms, in which a stricken sailor pictures the sea as grassy meadows and wishes to dive overboard into them.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Med.) A name formerly given to various fevers occuring in tropics; esp. to a form of furious delirium accompanied by fever, among sailors, which sometimes led the affected person to imagine the sea to be a green field, and to throw himself into it.
- v. Poetic To see as in the delirium of one affected with calenture.
- From Middle French calenture, from Spanish calentura. (Wiktionary)
- Spanish calentura, from calentar, to heat, from Latin calēns, calent-, present participle of calēre, to be warm; see kelə-1 in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Thus in the word calenture, nobody will deny that the first syllable is pronounced more emphatically than the others; but many will deny that it is longer in pronunciation.”
“Now she could understand, that "calenture" which he had sometimes jestingly alluded to, as coming upon him at times, when he felt literally sick for the sight of a green field or a hedge full of birds.”
“English naval officers, amongst whom two fell victims to mangrove-oysters, and the rest to the deadly "calenture" of the lower Congo.”
“A mild fit of calenture seizes him, in which he deems that the ground so far below, is on a level with the tower, and would as lief walk off the tower into the air as not.”
“The soldiers sank into deep, green moss that looked firm from a distance but proved treacherous underfoot, a kind of calenture on land, so that the madness suffered by sailors too long at sea, who hallucinated dry earth where there was no earth and drowned beneath the waves when they jumped, found its echo in ground that was soft and yielding as water.”
“THE dairy was certainly worth looking at: it was a scene to sicken for with a sort of calenture in hot and dusty streets — such coolness, such purity, such fresh fragrance of new-pressed cheese, of firm butter, of wooden vessels perpetually bathed in pure water; such soft colouring of red earthenware and creamy surfaces, brown wood and polished tin, grey limestone and rich orange-red rust on the iron weights and hooks and hinges.”
“There is no reason why a mind thus wandering in extasy should count the clock, or why an hour should not be a century in that calenture of the brains that can make the stage a field.”
“So long that we had thirty at a time sick of this _calenture_, which attacked our men, either by reason of the sudden change from cold to heat, or by reason of brackish water which had been taken in by our pinnace, through the sloth of their men in the mouth of the river, not rowing further in where the water was good.”
“One convoy carrying colonists to Virginia in 1609 and running a southerly course through "fervent heat and loomes breezes" had many of the crew and passengers fall ill from calenture (tropical or yellow fever).”
“The evidence relative to yellow fever, or calenture, during this period in Virginia is contradictory.”
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