noun \ˈplāg\

: a large number of harmful or annoying things

: a disease that causes death and that spreads quickly to a large number of people

Full Definition of PLAGUE

a :  a disastrous evil or affliction :  calamity
b :  a destructively numerous influx <a plague of locusts>
a :  an epidemic disease causing a high rate of mortality :  pestilence
b :  a virulent contagious febrile disease that is caused by a bacterium (Yersinia pestis) and that occurs in bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic forms —called also black death
a :  a cause of irritation :  nuisance
b :  a sudden unwelcome outbreak <a plague of burglaries>

Examples of PLAGUE

  1. The country was hit by a plague of natural disasters that year.
  2. There has been a plague of bank robberies in the area.
  3. a plague that swept through the tribe in the 1600s

Origin of PLAGUE

Middle English plage, from Late Latin plaga, from Latin, blow; akin to Latin plangere to strike — more at plaint
First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with PLAGUE



: to cause constant or repeated trouble, illness, etc., for (someone or something)

: to cause constant worry or distress to (someone)


Full Definition of PLAGUE

transitive verb
:  to smite, infest, or afflict with or as if with disease, calamity, or natural evil
a :  to cause worry or distress to :  hamper, burden
b :  to disturb or annoy persistently
plagu·er noun

Examples of PLAGUE

  1. Computer viruses plague Internet users.
  2. Crime plagues the inner city.
  3. Drought and wildfires continue to plague the area.

First Known Use of PLAGUE

15th century

Other Medicine Terms

analgesia, angina, diabetes, hepatitis, homeopathy, logorrhea, palliate, pandemic


noun \ˈplāg\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of PLAGUE

: an epidemic disease causing a high rate of mortality : pestilence <a plague of cholera>
: a virulent contagious febrile disease that is caused by a bacterium of the genus Yersinia (Y. pestis synonym Pasteurella pestis), that occurs in bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic forms, and that is usually transmitted from rats to humans by the bite of infected fleas (as in bubonic plague) or directly from person to person (as in pneumonic plague)—called also black death


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Infectious fever caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, carried by the rat flea. It usually spreads to humans only when the flea runs out of rodent hosts. It takes three forms. Bubonic, the mildest, has characteristic swollen lymph nodes (buboes) and is spread only by the flea. It accounts for three-fourths of plague cases. Pneumonic plague has extensive lung involvement and is spread in droplets from the lungs; it is often fatal in three or four days without treatment. In septicemic plague, bacteria overwhelm the bloodstream and often cause death within 24 hours, before other symptoms have a chance to develop. In the 14th century, plague ravaged Europe and Asia and was called the Black Death. Plague does not respond to penicillin, but other antibiotics are effective. Sanitary measures against fleas and rodents, quarantine, and extreme caution in handling infectious materials help to suppress epidemics. A vaccine can prevent plague.


Next Word in the Dictionary: plague grasshopper
Previous Word in the Dictionary: plagium
All Words Near: plague

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up plague? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).