iat·​ro·​gen·​ic (ˌ)ī-ˌa-trə-ˈje-nik How to pronounce iatrogenic (audio)
: induced unintentionally by a physician or surgeon or by medical treatment or diagnostic procedures
iatrogenic illness
iatrogenic injury to a nerve
… obtaining blood from humans is an invasive procedure with inherent risks to the patient such as pain at the needle site and the increased likelihood of acquiring an iatrogenic infection. Tony K. L. Kiang and Mary H. H. Ensom
iatrogenically adverb
iatrogenically induced illness

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web There are four types of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 9 June 2022 Injury or illness caused by the healer is called iatrogenic harm. Stephan Landsman, STAT, 6 Aug. 2021 If Whitaker is right, modern psychiatry, together with the pharmaceutical industry, has inflicted iatrogenic harm on millions of people. John Horgan, Scientific American, 17 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'iatrogenic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Greek iātro-, combining form of iātrós "physician, healer" + -genic — more at -iatry

First Known Use

1920, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of iatrogenic was in 1920

Dictionary Entries Near iatrogenic

Cite this Entry

“Iatrogenic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/iatrogenic. Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Medical Definition


iat·​ro·​gen·​ic (ˌ)ī-ˌa-trə-ˈjen-ik also (ˌ)ē- How to pronounce iatrogenic (audio)
: induced unintentionally by a physician or surgeon or by medical treatment or diagnostic procedures
iatrogenic nosocomial infection
iatrogenic nerve injury
"Iatrogenic events" were defined using standard criteria as an illness resulting from a diagnostic procedure or therapeutic intervention or any harmful occurrence that was not a natural consequence of the patient's underlying illness (and not present at hospital admission). Sharon K. Inouye et al., The Journal of the American Medical Association
iatrogenically adverb
iatrogenically induced complications
iatrogenicity noun
plural iatrogenicities

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