Definitions

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

  • n. Any of several pathological conditions of the muscles, tendons, joints, bones, or nerves, characterized by discomfort and disability.
  • n. Rheumatoid arthritis.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any disorder of the muscles, tendons, joints, bones, nerves, characterized by pain, discomfort and disability.
  • n. atrophic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A general disease characterized by painful, often multiple, local inflammations, usually affecting the joints and muscles, but also extending sometimes to the deeper organs, as the heart.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The disease specifically known as acute articular rheumatism (see below)—the name including also subacute and chronic forms apparently of the same causation. The word is used with a certain and unfortunate freedom in application to joint pains of various origins and anatomical forms.

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

  • n. a chronic autoimmune disease with inflammation of the joints and marked deformities; something (possibly a virus) triggers an attack on the synovium by the immune system, which releases cytokines that stimulate an inflammatory reaction that can lead to the destruction of all components of the joint
  • n. any painful disorder of the joints or muscles or connective tissues

Etymologies

Latin rheumatismus, rheum, from Greek rheumatismos, from rheumatizesthai, to suffer from rheum, from rheuma, rheumat-, flow, watery discharge from the body (formerly thought to cause aches and pains); see rheum.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested 1601, from Latin rheumatismus ("rheum"), from Ancient Greek ῥευματισμός (rheumatismos, "humour, discharge, rheum") from ῥευματίζομαι (rheumatizomai, "I suffer from a rheum") from ῥεῦμα (rheuma, "stream, flow") from ῥέω (rheō, "I flow") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The attitude of the most careful and experienced physicians and broad-minded bacteriologists may be roughly summed up in the statement that acute rheumatism is probably due to some germ or germs, but that the question is still open which particular germ is at fault, and even whether the group of symptoms which we call rheumatism may not possibly be produced by a number of different organisms, acting upon a particular type of constitution or susceptibility.

    Preventable Diseases

  • -- Watch this, Miss Judson, and I'll wager this form of rheumatism is new to you.

    CHAPTER XIX

  • Much that I do, when the rheumatism is not maddening my fingers, I sell.

    CHAPTER IV

  • His rheumatism is flaring and he happens to have friends on this leg of his Natchez Trace journey.

    Archive 2006-02-01

  • Europeans turning out in rheumatism-curing cat-blankets

    Boing Boing: May 4, 2003 - May 10, 2003 Archives

  • From these indiscretions and their consequences may be dated all his bodily sufferings in future life -- in short, rheumatism sadly afflicting him, while the remedies only slightly alleviated his sufferings, without hope of a permanent cure.

    The Opium Habit

  • From these indiscretions and their consequences may be dated all his bodily sufferings in future life: in short, rheumatism sadly afflicting him, while the remedies only slightly alleviated his sufferings, without hope of a permanent cure; though confined to his bed, his mind, ever active, still allowed him time to continue the exercise of his intellectual powers, and afforded him leisure for contemplation.

    The Life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1838

  • Today, rheumatism is treated by electric pads, by electric lights, by people pulling your legs, stretching your arms and jerking your feet.

    The Prolongation of Life

  • Probably in the days to cone we shall still have hundreds if not thousand's of remedies, until some specific cause for rheumatism is discovered and it is treated according to the specific cause.

    The Prolongation of Life

  • Judson, and I'll wager this form of rheumatism is new to you.

    Chapter 19

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