From French diphthérie, coined 1857 by Pierre Bretonneau; from Ancient Greek διφθέρα (diphthéra, “prepared hide, leather”), for the tough membrane that forms in the throat. Bretonneau earlier used diphthérite, from which diphtheritis.
- (UK) IPA(key): /dɪfˈθɪəɹɪə/, /dɪpˈθɪəɹɪə/
- (US) IPA(key): /dɪfˈθiɚɹi.ə/, /dɪpˈθiɚɹi.ə/
- Rhymes: -ɪəɹiə
- (pathology) A highly infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract characterised by a sore throat, fever, and difficulty breathing, its symptoms being due to a potent toxin excreted by the infecting agent Corynebacterium diphtheriae.
(repiratory tract infection):
- Boulogne sore throat (obsolete)
- strangling angel / strangling angel of children (informal, archaic)