Definitions

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

  • n. A noncontagious inflammation of the skin, characterized chiefly by redness, itching, and the outbreak of lesions that may discharge serous matter and become encrusted and scaly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An acute or chronic inflammation of the skin, characterized by redness, itching, and the outbreak of oozing vesicular lesions which become encrusted and scaly. It is noncontagious.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An inflammatory disease of the skin, characterized by the presence of redness and itching, an eruption of small vesicles, and the discharge of a watery exudation, which often dries up, leaving the skin covered with crusts; -- called also tetter, milk crust, and salt rheum.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An inflammation of the skin attended with considerable exudation of lymph.
  • n. Acute eczema when the color of the skin is very red.
  • n. Pityriasis rubra.

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

  • n. generic term for inflammatory conditions of the skin; particularly with vesiculation in the acute stages

Etymologies

New Latin, from Greek ekzema, from ekzein, to break out, boil over : ek-, out; see ecto- + zein, to boil; see yes- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek ἔκζεμα (ekzema), from ἐκ (ek, "out of, forth from") + ζέμα (zema, "that which is boiled, decoction"), from ζέω (zeo, "to boil, to seethe"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Those Merriam bastards...

    June 16, 2010

  • N.B. to those speakers who say or were taught to say ek-ZEE-muh (or eg-), with stress on the second syllable and a long e as in see. This variant has been heard since the 19th century, but there is no etymological basis for it, medical references from the 19th century to the present have ignored it, and numerous authorities have frowned upon it: e.g., “The pronunciation ek-ZEE-muh, though common, is contrary to the Latin accentuation” — Webster’s New International Dictionary, 1909; “eczema . . . is pronounced EK-ze-ma, not eg-ZEE-ma,” John B. Opdycke, Don’t Say It, 1939. Although you will find it listed in current dictionaries, second-syllable stress remains distinctly second-class, and modern authorities do not countenance it.

    N.B. to cbbudman, regarding the line you saw over the medial e in "earlier dictionaries": I'm guessing that you consulted one or more of the G. & C. Merriam dictionaries, which used a horizontal line with a short vertical stem to indicate the lightened sound of e in words like event and serene. It looks a bit like a macron (the long-e mark) but it isn't.

    — The Orthoepist

    June 16, 2010

  • Those American Heritage Dictionary bastards...

    June 15, 2010

  • American Heritage Dictionary is wrong with their pronunciation of eczema. I am 69 years old and the English teachers I had, taught us that when a word ends in a vowel, the vowel preceding the last consonant is to be pronounced as a long sound. Earlier dictionaries agree with me and show a line over the second E. Even dictionaries that show a so called secondary accepted pronunciation put the long sound first. It is properly pronounced Ek zee muh.

    June 15, 2010