AskDefine | Define jaundice

Dictionary Definition



1 yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes caused by an accumulation of bile pigment (bilirubin) in the blood; can be a symptom of gallstones or liver infection or anemia [syn: icterus]
2 a sharp and bitter manner [syn: bitterness, acrimony, acerbity]


1 distort adversely; "Jealousy had jaundiced his judgment"
2 affect with, or as if with, jaundice

User Contributed Dictionary



From jaundis, jaunis, from jaunisse, from jaune + -isse. jaune from jalne, from etyl la galbinus, from galbus.


  1. A morbid condition, characterized by yellowness of the eyes, skin, and urine, whiteness of the feces, constipation, queasiness, loss of appetite, and general languor and lassitude. It is caused usually by obstruction of the biliary passages and consequent damming up, in the liver, of the bile, which is then absorbed into the blood. Other causes include increased hemolysis and any liver disease. The discoloration is caused by accumulation of bilirubin in the body; bilirubin is normally excreted in bile to give feces their normal yellow-brown coloration.

Derived terms

See also


a morbid condition


  1. To affect with jaundice; to color by prejudice or envy; to prejudice.
    • The envy of wealth jaundiced his soul. - Ld. Lytton


affect with jaundice; prejudice

Extensive Definition

Jaundice, also known as icterus (attributive adjective: "icteric"), is yellowish discoloration of the skin, sclerae (whites of the eyes) and mucous membranes caused by hyperbilirubinemia (increased levels of bilirubin in the blood). This hyperbilirubinemia subsequently causes increased levels of bilirubin in the extracellular fluids. Typically, the concentration of bilirubin in the plasma must exceed 1.5 mg/dL, three times the usual value of approximately 0.5mg/dL The majority of this bilirubin comes from the breakdown of heme from expired red blood cells in the process just described. However approximately 20 per cent comes from other heme sources, including ineffective erythropoiesis, breakdown of other heme protrins such as muscle myoglobin and cytochrome enzymes.

Jaundiced eye

It was once believed persons suffering from the medical condition jaundice saw everything as yellow. By extension, the jaundiced eye came to mean a prejudiced view, usually rather negative or critical. Alexander Pope, in 'An Essay on Criticism' (1711), wrote: "All seems infected that the infected spy, As all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye." Similarly in the mid 19th century the English poet Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote in the poem 'Locksley Hall': "So I triumphe'd ere my passion sweeping thro' me left me dry, left me with the palsied heart, and left me with a jaundiced eye."


jaundice in Arabic: يرقان
jaundice in Bosnian: Žutica
jaundice in Bulgarian: Жълтеница
jaundice in Catalan: Icterícia
jaundice in Czech: Žloutenka
jaundice in Danish: Gulsot
jaundice in German: Ikterus
jaundice in Spanish: Ictericia
jaundice in Esperanto: Iktero
jaundice in French: Ictère
jaundice in Croatian: Žutica
jaundice in Italian: Ittero
jaundice in Hebrew: צהבת
jaundice in Latin: Icterus
jaundice in Lithuanian: Gelta
jaundice in Malayalam: മഞ്ഞപ്പിത്തം
jaundice in Malay (macrolanguage): Demam kuning jaundis
jaundice in Dutch: Geelzucht
jaundice in Japanese: 黄疸
jaundice in Norwegian: Gulsott
jaundice in Norwegian Nynorsk: Gulsot
jaundice in Polish: Żółtaczka (medycyna)
jaundice in Portuguese: Icterícia
jaundice in Albanian: Verdhëza
jaundice in Simple English: Jaundice
jaundice in Slovak: Žltačka
jaundice in Slovenian: Zlatenica
jaundice in Finnish: Keltaisuus
jaundice in Swedish: Gulsot
jaundice in Telugu: పచ్చకామెర్లు
jaundice in Vietnamese: Hoàng đản
jaundice in Turkish: Sarılık
jaundice in Chinese: 黄疸

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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