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

  • n. Edema. No longer in scientific use.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Swelling, edema, often from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An unnatural collection of serous fluid in any serous cavity of the body, or in the subcutaneous cellular tissue.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In medicine, a morbid accumulation of watery liquid in any cavity of the body or in the tissues. See edema, anasarca., and ascites.
  • n. In botany, a disease in succulent plants caused by an excess of water.
  • n. In fish-culture, a disease of young trout.

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

  • n. swelling from excessive accumulation of watery fluid in cells, tissues, or serous cavities


Middle English dropesie, short for idropesie, from Old French ydropisie, from Medieval Latin ydrōpisia, from Latin hydrōpisis, from Greek hudrōpiāsis, from hudrōps, dropsy, a dropsical person : hudro-, water; see hydro- + ōps, face; see okw- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Ultimately from Ancient Greek ὕδρωψ (hudrōps), from ὕδωρ (hudor, "water"). (Wiktionary)



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  • one of the cutest-sounding gruesomenesses (like oozy bubo).

    April 27, 2009

  • Often used in connection with congestive heart failure, a generally irreversible ailment.

    April 14, 2008

  • She likewise hinted that a certain widow, in the next street, had got rid of her dropsy and recovered her shape in a most surprising manner.
    Sheridan, School for Scandal

    January 6, 2008