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From Latin valētūdinārius, from valetudo (state of health, health, ill health), from valere (to be strong or well) +‎ -an.


  • IPA(key): /ˌvæ.ləˌtuː.dəˈnɛ.ɹi.ən/
  • (US)


valetudinarian (comparative more valetudinarian, superlative most valetudinarian)

  1. Sickly, infirm, of ailing health
    • 1910, Florence Anne Sellar MacCunn, Sir Walter Scott's Friends, p. 234
      The valetudinarian habit of discussing his health had grown on Rose...
    • 1841, Thomas Macaulay, Comic Dramatists of the Restoration (printed in Edinburgh Review, January 1841)
      The virtue which the world wants is a healthful virtue, not a valetudinarian virtue.
  2. Being overly worried about one's health




valetudinarian (plural valetudinarians)

  1. A person in poor health or sickly, especially one who is constantly obsessed with their state of health
    • 1787, Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph, July 6, 1787 in The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Paul Leicester Ford (ed.), Vol. 5, pp. 300-01 (NY: 1904)
      The most uninformed mind, with a healthy body, is happier than the wisest valetudinarian.
    • 1815, Jane Austen, Emma, Vol. I, Ch. 1
      The evil of the actual disparity in their ages (and Mr. Woodhouse had not married early) was much increased by his constitution and habits; for having been a valetudinarian all his life, without activity of mind or body, he was a much older man in ways than in years; and though everywhere beloved for the friendliness of his heart and his amiable temper, his talents could not have recommended him at any time.
    • 1884, Dixon Kemp, A Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing (4th Ed.)
      The cuisine, of course, would not be such as would raise water bubbles in the mouth of a valetudinarian; the carnivorous propensity will mostly be gratified by steak which, when cut, will resemble the Mudhook Yacht Club burgee of rouge et noir; and savory soups and luscious salmon will be luxuries only obtainable in "cannister" form.
    • 1950, Mervyn Peake, Gormenghast
      Are you a mere valetudinarian, my dear Ladyship, or some prolific mendicant whose bewitched offspring she hopes I can return to human shape?
    • (Can we date this quote by Louis Auchincloss and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      She affected to be spunky about her ailments and afflictions, but she was in fact an utterly self-centered valetudinarian.


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