American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A chronic lung disease, such as asthma or emphysema, in which breathing becomes slowed or forced.
- n. pathology A group of diseases characterized by the pathological limitation of airflow in the airway that is not fully reversible. May be caused by reactive airways, chronic infection, congenital defects, or, most commonly, cigarette smoking. Generally does not include neoplasms, which could also obstruct airways.
- n. a nonreversible lung disease that is a combination of emphysema and chronic bronchitis; usually patients have been heavy cigarette smokers
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