Pierce's disease


: a disease of grapes that is caused by a bacterium (Xylella fastidiosa fastidiosa) which blocks the flow of xylem, that is marked especially by yellowing and browning of the leaves, leaf loss, shriveling of fruit clusters, stunted and irregular new growth, and eventual death of the vines within one to five years, and that is spread by sap-feeding leafhoppers and spittlebugs
Carried by an insect, Pierce's disease affects grapevines much like a severe drought condition, causing the grapevines to eventually shut down from lack of moisture.Robyn Bullard
Pierce's disease is most prevalent in mild-winter areas and is the principal factor limiting European grapevine cultivation in the American South.Steve Heimoff

Examples of Pierce's disease in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Among the Southern Sensations' claim to fame is a resistance to Pierce's disease. Calvin Finch, San Antonio Express-News, 17 Feb. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Pierce's disease.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


after Newton B. Pierce †1916 U.S. plant pathologist, who described the disease

Note: Pierce, born about 1856, wrote about the infestation in The California Vine Disease: A Preliminary Report of Investigations, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Vegetable Diseases, Bulletin No. 2 (Washington, 1892).

First Known Use

1941, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Pierce's disease was in 1941

Dictionary Entries Near Pierce's disease

Cite this Entry

“Pierce's disease.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Pierce%27s%20disease. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

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