A pox is an illness, especially one that's particularly contagious and causes blisters or rashes. Today, most poxes are preventable through vaccines.

The most devastating of the poxes was probably smallpox, a viral disease that killed around 500 million people during the 20th century before being officially eradicated in 1980. A more common pox is chickenpox, which is highly infectious and can be fatal but is not as deadly. What these illnesses have in common is scarring blisters, once known themselves as pox, from pock, "pustule or blister."

Definitions of pox
  1. noun
    a contagious disease characterized by purulent skin eruptions that may leave pock marks
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    smallpox, variola, variola major
    a highly contagious viral disease characterized by fever and weakness and skin eruption with pustules that form scabs that slough off leaving scars
    chickenpox, varicella
    an acute contagious disease caused by herpes varicella zoster virus; causes a rash of vesicles on the face and body
    cowpox, vaccinia
    a viral disease of cattle causing a mild skin disease affecting the udder; formerly used to inoculate humans against smallpox
    Cuban itch, Kaffir pox, West Indian smallpox, alastrim, milk pox, pseudosmallpox, pseudovariola, variola minor, white pox
    a mild form of smallpox caused by a less virulent form of the virus
    type of:
    contagion, contagious disease
    any disease easily transmitted by contact
  2. noun
    a common venereal disease caused by the treponema pallidum spirochete; symptoms change through progressive stages; can be congenital (transmitted through the placenta)
    synonyms: lues, lues venerea, syph, syphilis
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    primary syphilis
    the first stage; characterized by a chancre at the site of infection
    secondary syphilis
    the second stage; characterized by eruptions of the skin and mucous membrane
    tertiary syphilis
    the third stage; characterized by involvement of internal organs especially the brain and spinal cord as well as the heart and liver
    syphilis of the central nervous system
    locomotor ataxia, tabes dorsalis
    syphilis of the spinal cord characterized by degeneration of sensory neurons and stabbing pains in the trunk and legs and unsteady gait and incontinence and impotence
    type of:
    Cupid's disease, Cupid's itch, STD, VD, Venus's curse, dose, sexually transmitted disease, social disease, venereal disease, venereal infection
    a communicable infection transmitted by sexual intercourse or genital contact
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