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From Middle English dropesie, idropesie, 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. (archaic) Edema, swelling.
    • 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene i]:
      Caliban: The dropſie drowne this foole, []
    • 1820, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Oedipus Tyrannus; Or, Swellfoot The Tyrant: A Tragedy in Two Acts:
      Your sacred Majesty, he has the dropsy;—
      We shall find pints of hydatids in’s liver,
      He has not half an inch of wholesome fat
      Upon his carious ribs—
    • 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.
    • 2020, Pat Goodmann, Wolf Park Blog: Happy 90th Birthday Dr. Klinghammer:
      Like someone moving back in space until the earth appears as a tiny mote of light, he managed to distance himself from the immediate discomfort of pipes with dropsy, defiant plumbing tools, and the overly familiar fiberglass, by musing aloud on the evolutionary history of humans that allowed the two of us to communicate verbally, creating a word picture of the problem and how to fix it.


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