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Any of a family of single-stranded RNA viruses that infect mammals and birds, causing respiratory infections such as the common cold and SARS in humans, and that have spikes of glycoproteins projecting from the viral envelope.
[corona + virus (so called because when a coronavirus virion is viewed under an electron microscope, the fringe of projections from the viral envelope resembles the solar corona during a solar eclipse ).]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(Pathology) a type of airborne virus accounting for 10-30% of all colds
[C20: so-called because of their corona-like appearance in electron micrographs]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014