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1. inflammation of a mucous membrane with increased production of mucus, esp affecting the nose and throat in the common cold
2. the mucus so formed
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



or catarrhal inflammation, an inflammation of the mucous membranes; they become red, swollen, edematous and form and exude a fluid (exudate). The exudate may be transparent (serous catarrh) or admixed with mucus (mucous catarrh) or pus (suppurative catarrh).

Catarrh may be caused by a bacterial or viral infection—for example, catarrh (inflammation) of the upper respiratory tract: bronchitis, laryngitis, and head cold; or it may be caused by pathogenic fungi—for example, colitis. Catarrh of the stomach (obsolete name, gastritis) develops from improper diet, abuse of alcohol, and smoking.

In acute forms of catarrh, the matter exuded by the mucous membranes gradually decreases and full recovery ensues. Delayed treatment may cause an acute form to develop into a chronic inflammation, which may produce severe irreversible changes in the mucous membranes, including attenuation (atrophy) or disorderly proliferation (hypertrophy) with deterioration or complete loss of function of the affected organ. Chronic catarrh is prevented by prompt and comprehensive treatment of the acute forms.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


An old term for an inflammation of mucous membranes, particularly of the respiratory tract.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Catarrh strained the vocal cords and was known in adults as "clergyman's throat".
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Unless you had catarrh, the grunt was unknown, apart from one lad who suffered from asthma and that was more wheeze than grunt in any case - and only when there was a lot of pollen about.
Or should that be catarrh? No, Catarrh's in the Middle East.
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