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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.lə.ˌtuː.də.ˈnɛɹ.i.ən/
  • (file)


valetudinarian (comparative more valetudinarian, superlative most valetudinarian)

  1. sickly, infirm, of ailing health
    The valetudinarian habit of discussing his health had grown on Rose... -- Florence Anne Sellar MacCunn, Sir Walter Scott's Friends, 1910, p. 234
    • Macaulay
      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
    • 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?
    • Louis Auchincloss
      She affected to be spunky about her ailments and afflictions, but she was in fact an utterly self-centered valetudinarian.


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