N: 1. “wasting away of the body,” 1650s, Modern Latin, from Greek marasmos “a wasting away, withering, decay,” from marainein “to quench, weaken, wither,” from PIE root *mer- “to rub away, harm” (see morbid). Maras (n.) evidently in the same sense is attested from mid-15c. Related: Marasmic.
2. A form of protein-calorie malnutrition chiefly occurring during the first year of life, characterized by growth retardation and progressive wasting of subcutaneous fat and muscle, but usually with retention of the appetite and mental alertness. Infectious diseases may be precipitating factors.
3. Depending on context and field, marasmus can be synonym of cachexia, cachexy or nutritional marasmus.
S: 1. OED – http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=marasmus (last access: 27 July 2015). 2. TERMIUMPLUS. 3. GDT; FCB.
SYN: infantile atrophy, athrepsia, pedatrophia, marasmus infantilis, marasmus lactanium.