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Alternative forms




From Middle English diaria, from Middle French diarrie (French diarrhée),[1] from Late Latin diarrhoea, from Ancient Greek διάρροια (diárrhoia, through-flowing), from διά (diá, through) + ῥέω (rhéō, flow). By surface analysis, dia- +‎ -rrhea. Spelling later altered to resemble the word's Latin and Greek roots.

Displaced native Old English ūtsiht (literally straining out).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌdaɪ.əˈɹiː.ə/
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Rhymes: -iːə



diarrhea (countable and uncountable, plural diarrheas) (American spelling, Canadian spelling)

  1. A gastrointestinal disorder characterized by frequent and very soft or watery bowel movements.
  2. The watery or very soft excrement that comes from such bowel movements.
    • 2008, Danna Korn and Connie Sarros, Gluten-Free Cooking for Dummies, Chapter 1:
      My Pampers bill is higher than your paycheck, my hands are raw from washing them every six minutes, and I do eight loads of laundry a day because everything we own is covered in diarrhea, and you want me to "plug him up" and wait another three weeks?
    • 2009, Daniel Everett, Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes[1], page 47:
      I looked and saw that she and her hammock were covered in diarrhea.
    • 2014, L. A. Knight, Dog Training the American Male, page 221:
      Why was she covered in diarrhea?

Usage notes

  • Diarrhea is the American spelling; diarrhoea is the British spelling.





Derived terms




See also



  1. ^ dīarīa, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved June 5, 2022.