Definition of tuberculosis in English:

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Pronunciation: /t(y)o͞oˌbərkyəˈlōsəs/
(abbreviation TB)


An infectious bacterial disease characterized by the growth of nodules (tubercles) in the tissues, especially the lungs.
  • The disease is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis or (especially in animals) a related species; Gram-positive acid-fast rods.

The most common form, pulmonary tuberculosis (formerly known as ‘consumption’), is caused by inhalation of the bacteria. It was widespread in 19th-century Europe, and still causes 3 million deaths each year in developing countries. The disease can affect other parts of the body, notably the bones and joints and the central nervous system. Its spread was largely countered by vaccination and by the pasteurization of milk to prevent transmission from cattle. Today, the rise in HIV has helped cause a resurgence of tuberculosis, especially of drug-resistant strains.

Example sentences
  • The children then succumb to diseases like tuberculosis, pneumonia and meningitis.
  • There are few medicines used to treat diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and polio that have patents on them now.
  • He worked on typhoid fever and tuberculosis a disease he contracted himself.


Mid 19th century: modern Latin, from Latin tuberculum (see tubercle) + -osis.

Words that rhyme with tuberculosis

apotheosis, chlorosis, cirrhosis, diagnosis, halitosis, hypnosis, kenosis, meiosis, metempsychosis, misdiagnosis, mononucleosis, myxomatosis, necrosis, neurosis, osmosis, osteoporosis, prognosis, psittacosis, psychosis, sclerosis, symbiosis, thrombosis, toxoplasmosis, trichinosis

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tu·ber·cu·lo·sis

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