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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ A deficiency of vitamin D results in rickets.
▪ Diseases from our history texts, like rickets and scurvy, have begun to reappear in the West.
▪ She was well under five feet in height and her legs were terribly bowed because of rickets.
▪ Spouses or newly-weds should carry a copy of their marriage certificate where passports and rickets are in different names.
▪ The diseases of the time affected almost every family: tuberculosis, rickets, pneumonia.
▪ These robust bones of healed rickets provide an explanation for Lees and co-workers' findings.
▪ Tuberculosis and malnutrition were prevalent, as was rickets.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Rickets \Rick"ets\, n. pl. [Of uncertain origin; but cf. AS. wrigian to bend, D. wrikken to shake, E. wriggle.] (Med.) A disease which affects children, and which is characterized by a bulky head, crooked spine and limbs, depressed ribs, enlarged and spongy articular epiphyses, tumid abdomen, and short stature, together with clear and often premature mental faculties. The essential cause of the disease appears to be the nondeposition of earthy salts in the osteoid tissues. Children afflicted with this malady stand and walk unsteadily. Called also rachitis.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

disease caused by vitamin D deficiency, 1630s, of uncertain origin. Originally a local name for the disease in Dorset and Somerset, England. Some derive it from a Dorset word, rucket "to breathe with difficulty," but the sense connection is difficult. The Modern Latin name for the disease, rachitis, comes from Greek rhakhis "spine" (see rachitic), but this was chosen by English physician Daniel Whistler (1619-1684) for resemblance to rickets.


n. (context pathology English) A disorder of infancy and early childhood caused by a deficiency of vitamin D, causing soft bones.


n. childhood disease caused by deficiency of vitamin D and sunlight associated with impaired metabolism of calcium and phosphorus [syn: rachitis]


Rickets is defective mineralization or calcification of bones before epiphyseal closure in immature mammals due to deficiency or impaired metabolism of vitamin D, phosphorus or calcium,TheFreeDictionary > rickets In turn citing:

  • The American Heritage Medical Dictionary Copyright 2007 (mentioning vitamin D and phosphates)
  • Mosby's Dental Dictionary, 2nd edition. Copyright 2008 (mentioning vitamin D and calcium) potentially leading to fractures and deformity. Rickets is among the most frequent childhood diseases in many developing countries. The predominant cause is a vitamin D deficiency, but lack of adequate calcium in the diet may also lead to rickets (cases of severe diarrhea and vomiting may be the cause of the deficiency). Although it can occur in adults, the majority of cases occur in children suffering from severe malnutrition, usually resulting from famine or starvation during the early stages of childhood.

Osteomalacia is a similar condition occurring in adults, generally due to a deficiency of vitamin D but occurs after epiphyseal closure.

Usage examples of "rickets".

If they are not hampered by rickets or deformities, or impetigo, scabies or vermin, then their faces are tied up on account of nerve aches, carbuncles, boils, and abscesses.

Her case sounded as if she had a form of hypercalcemia, which was manifested by any number of diseases ranging from rickets and steomalacia to chronic hypertrophic arthritis.

Rickets is a scrofulous disease, in which there is derangement of the entire system, and it finally manifests itself in disease of the bones.

THE SYMPTOMS of rickets are severe pains in the bones, especially during the night, febrile excitement and profuse perspiration, paleness of the face, a sallow and wrinkled appearance of the skin, and derangement of the digestive organs.

It can be employed as a substitute for cod-liver oil in scrofula, rickets, anaemia, debility following infectious diseases.

Tara could usually find plenty to say about the insensitivity of the privileged rich white ruling classes, and the iniquity of a system which enabled a young man, whose only proven distinctions were a beautiful face and a rich and indulgent mother, to number amongst his playthings fifteen polo ponies, an SS Jaguar in British racing green with the special three and a half litre engine, and a De Havilland Tiger Moth biplane, while thousands of black children had their little bellies bloated with malnutrition and their legs bowed and deformed by rickets.