from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

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

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Med.) 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.
  • noun See under Fibroid.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun involving the lungs with progressive wasting of the body


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

[Latin, from Greek, from phthinein, to waste away.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin phthisis, from Ancient Greek φθίσις (phthisis, "consumption, decline, wasting away"), from φθίω (phthiō, "I waste away").


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  • "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

  • "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

  • Phthis is a good find.

    (Sorry. It had to be said.)

    November 2, 2014

  • "My patient died at sea and we buried him up there by St. Philip's: poor fellow, he was in the last stages of phthisis."

    Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian, p 37 of the Norton paperback edition

    July 5, 2019