General English


  • noun a sensitivity to particular substances that causes an unpleasant physical reaction


  • noun an unusual sensitivity to some substances such as pollen or dust, which cause a physical reaction such as sneezing or a rash in someone who comes into contact with them

Origin & History of “allergy”

Allergy was borrowed from German allergie, which was coined in 1906 by the scientist C E von Pirquet. He formed it from Greek allos ‘other, different’ and érgon ‘work’ (source of English energy and related to English work). Its original application was to a changed physiological condition caused by an injection of some foreign substance.