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

  • n. A disease characterized by the wasting away or atrophy of the body or a part of the body.
  • n. Tuberculosis of the lungs. No longer in scientific use.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An atrophy of the body or part of the body, especially pulmonary tuberculosis.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A wasting or consumption of the tissues. The term was formerly applied to many wasting diseases, but is now usually restricted to pulmonary phthisis, or consumption. See consumption.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A disease of the lungs, characterized by progressive consolidation of pulmonary tissue, with breaking down and the formation of cavities.

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

  • n. involving the lungs with progressive wasting of the body


Latin, from Greek, from phthinein, to waste away.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin phthisis, from Ancient Greek φθίσις (phthisis, "consumption, decline, wasting away"), from φθίω (phthiō, "I waste away"). (Wiktionary)



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  • Phthis is a good find.

    (Sorry. It had to be said.)

    November 2, 2014

  • "Sick with phthisis in this drizzling mist, I limp, sniffling, spitting bilic spit, itching livid skin (skin which is tingling with stinging pinpricks)."
    Eunoia by Christian Bök (upgraded edition), p 55

    May 22, 2010

  • "They were deep in two extraordinary, unaccountable and lasting cases of remission in phthisis and tetraplegia when the chief huntsman came to say that Omar Pasha would now receive them."
    --P. O'Brian, The Hundred Days, 190

    March 25, 2008