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Definition of "smallpox" [small•pox]

  • An acute, highly infectious, often fatal disease caused by a poxvirus and characterized by high fever and aches with subsequent widespread eruption of pimples that blister, produce pus, and form pockmarks. Also called variola. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "smallpox" in a sentence
  • "London society then censured Lady Mary as an unnatural mother for following the Turkish trend in smallpox inoculation: but her determination escorted a breakthrough into Western medicine."
  • "During the smallpox epidemic that swept through many parts of New Spain in 1763, she cautions that her grandchildren not be allowed to eat sweets while the threat of smallpox is present; another letter mentions that Maria Antonia's dizzy spells were probably caused by "the sweets she eats.""
  • "Whereas chickenpox virus (varicella) can be spread before the rash occurs, smallpox is only spread after the rash has occurred."