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From Middle English ydropsy, from Old French idropsie, ydropisie, from Latin hydropisis, from Ancient Greek ὕδρωψ (húdrōps), from ὕδωρ (húdōr, water). Doublet of hydropsy and hydrops.


dropsy (usually uncountable, plural dropsies)

  1. (pathology) Swelling, edema, often from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
    • 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene i]:
      Caliban: The dropſie drowne this foole, []
    • 1911, Joseph Addison, Encyclopædia Britannica:
      The disease under which Addison laboured appears to have been asthma. It became more violent after his retirement from office, and was now accompanied by dropsy.


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