Definitions

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

  • n. Variant of phthisis.
  • n. Archaic Any illness of the lungs or throat, such as asthma or a cough.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A wasting illness of the lungs, such as asthma or tuberculosis; phthisis.
  • n. Any wasting disease.
  • n. A person suffering from phthisis.
  • n. Any wasting or shrinking of another body part such as, for example, the eye (phthisis bulbi).
  • adj. Of or relating to phthisis or tuberculosis; tubercular.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Same as phthisis.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Same as phthisical.
  • n. A consumption or wasting away; phthisis.
  • n. A person affected with phthisis.

Etymologies

Middle English ptisike, from Old French ptisique, from phthisicus, consumptive, from Greek phthisikos, from phthisis, wasting away, consumption; see phthisis.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English tisike, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin phthisicus ("suffering from tuberculosis"), from Ancient Greek φθισικός (phthisikos, "consumptive"), from φθίσις (phthisis, "tuberculosis, consumption") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • “From a great distance, with a tranquilizer dart,” said Hillovi, with a stoned wink and a laugh that sounded more like the barking of a phthisic sea lion.

    THE BOYS FROM SANTA CRUZ

  • On the one hand it was denounced as an epicurean and obnoxious toy from England, designed to corrupt the democratic simplicity of the Republic, and on the other hand it was attacked by the medical faculty as dangerous to health and a certain inviter of “phthisic, rheumatic fevers, inflammation of the lungs and the whole category of zymotic diseases.”

    August « 2008 « Isegoria

  • He wavered along on a stick, planted before him with a blue phthisic hand.

    Thomas Wolfe’s ‘Angel’ of Death - Paper Cuts Blog - NYTimes.com

  • I shall present myself at your house in Rouen whose address I had from M. Bouilhet who knows me well having come to see me in his youth he will tell you that I have the phthisic still agreeably and always faithful to all who knew me whether in the civil or in the military and in these sentiments for life your affectionate

    The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

  • S-ure has been calling him "Yankee pig" all day now, a hilarious joke he will not leave alone, often getting no further than "Yank -" before collapsing into some horrible twanging phthisic wheeze of a laugh, coughing up alarming ropy lungers of many colors and marbling effects-green, for example, old-statue green at leafy dusk.

    Gravity's Rainbow

  • It should not be understood, however, that the _quantity_ of moisture precipitated in any given district determines of itself the prevalence or non-prevalence of phthisic complaints; not at all, for we see in

    Minnesota; Its Character and Climate Likewise Sketches of Other Resorts Favorable to Invalids; Together With Copious Notes on Health; Also Hints to Tourists and Emigrants.

  • And we shall be rid of phthisis and phthisic and pneumonia and pneumatics, and diphtheria and pterodactyl, and all those other insane words which no man addicted to the simple Christian life can try to spell and not lose some of the bloom of his piety in the demoralizing attempt.

    Mark Twain`s speeches; with an introduction by William Dean Howells.

  • When her brother Simeon was took bad with phthisic, "wheezin 'like a busted bellerses" and 'twas "up and down, trot, trot, trot," to fetch and carry for him day in and night out, did the folks from the

    Keziah Coffin

  • "I told her I couldn't clean up much 'count of the rheumatism, an' phthisic, an 'these here dizzy spells --"

    Lovey Mary

  • Then Dilsie could sleep in the cabin, as she ought to on account of the jimsonweed in her phthisic pipe.

    The Tinder-Box

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  • "You, Ishmail, phthisic pawn, glutton for musty old manuscripts, puny scribbling runt, martyr to a myriad of sulks, doldrums and mulligrubs, you who lit out, packing just a smock, four shirts and a cotton hanky in your bag. . ." Gilbert Adair translation of Georges Perec's La Disparition

    August 11, 2010

  • "His hand pumps mine, his a meaty, insensitive hand, the exact opposite of the Hand's phthisic arm which only now releases me."
    Forgetting Elena by Edmund White, p 105 of the Vintage International paperback edition

    November 21, 2009