Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A disease caused by a deficiency of niacin and protein in the diet and characterized by skin eruptions, digestive and nervous system disturbances, and eventual mental deterioration.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A disease, with skin lesions and mental confusion, primarily caused by a niacin deficiency.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An affection of the skin, characterized by redness, especially in exposed areas, scaling and shedding of the skin, and accompanied with severe gastrointestinal disturbance and nervous symptoms. It is due to a deficiency of niacin (vitamin B3; nicotinic acid) and protein in the diet, and may be caused by malnutrition, or, in some cases, by a heavy dependence on maize for food. It was at one time (ca. 1890) endemic in Northern Italy, and was called Alpine scurvy. It may also be caused by alcoholism or diease causing an impairment of nutrition. It is also called St. Ignatius's itch, maidism, mal de la rosa, mal rosso, and psychoneurosis maidica. A variety of pellagra seen in children is called infantile pellagra or kwashiorkor.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An endemic disease of southern Europe, characterized by erythema, digestive derangement, and nervous affections. It exhibits vernal recurrences or exacerbations, and is frequently fatal after a few years. Also spelled pelagra.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a disease caused by deficiency of niacin or tryptophan (or by a defect in the metabolic conversion of tryptophan to niacin); characterized by gastrointestinal disturbances and erythema and nervous or mental disorders; may be caused by malnutrition or alcoholism or other nutritional impairments

Etymologies

Italian : pelle, skin (from Latin pellis) + -agra, a seizure (from Latin, from Greek -agrā, from agrā, a seizing).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian pelle ("skin") + agra ("sour") (Wiktionary)

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