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From Italian lazzaretto.


  • IPA(key): /ˌlæzəˈɹɛtəʊ/


lazaretto (plural lazarettos or lazarettoes or lazaretti)

  1. A medical facility specializing in the care for contagious patients.
    • 1962, Derek Walcott, "Tales of the Islands" in Collected Poems 1948-1984, New York, Noonday Press, 1986, p. 23,
      Miss Rossignol lived in the lazaretto / For Roman Catholic crones; she had white skin, / And underneath it, fine, old-fashioned bones;
    • 1974, Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, New York: Harcourt Brace, (translator not credited), p. 150,
      And they led me to visit a suspended street recently opened over a bamboo grove, a shadow-theater under construction in the place of the municipal kennels, now moved to the pavilions of the former lazaretto, abolished when the last plague victims were cured, []
    • 2006, Joseph P. Byrne, Daily Life During the Black Death, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Chapter 6, p. 143,
      [] the idea of an isolated, specialized treatment facility like the leprosarium for plague victims caught on. These buildings would be known as pest houses, lazar houses, or lazaretti (Italian, singular lazaretto; variously spelled in different languages), named, as were many leprosaria, for Lazarus, the poor man with sores in the Gospel parable whom the rich man ignored at the peril of his soul (e.g., Luke 16:19–31).
  2. A ship or building used for quarantine.
    • 1782, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Confessions, in The Collected Writings of Rousseau, Vol. 5, translated by Christopher Kelly, Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1995, p. 248
      That subjected us to a quarantine of twenty-one days upon arriving at Genoa after a long and troublesome crossing. They gave the passengers the choice of undergoing it on board, or in the lazaretto in which they warned us that we would find only the four walls, because they had not yet had time to furnish it.
    • 2010, Roderick Cavaliero, Ottomania: The Romantics and the Myth of the Islamic Orient, London: I.B. Tauris, Chapter 1, p. 10,
      By the middle of the eighteenth century when it was becoming easier, and safer, to visit the east, they were anxious to visit the Greek and Roman lands of Europe, Asia Minor and North Africa from which they had been deterred by the lure of Italy, fear of the plague and of having to spend quarantine in a noisome Levantine lazaretto.
  3. (nautical) An area on some merchant ships where provisions are stored.