blight

1 of 2

noun

1
botany
a
: a disease or injury of plants marked by the formation of lesions, withering, and death of parts (such as leaves and tubers)
potato blight
b
: an organism (such as an insect or a fungus) that causes blight
2
: something that frustrates plans or hopes
the blight of poverty
an abandoned factory that was a blight on the neighborhood
3
: something that impairs or destroys
… censorship … has brought under its blight Ireland's greatest poets, dramatists, and scholars.Paul Blanshard
4
: a deteriorated condition
urban blight

blight

2 of 2

verb

blighted; blighting; blights

transitive verb

1
botany : to affect (a plant) with a disease or injury marked by the formation of lesions, withering, and death of parts (such as leaves and tubers) : to affect with blight (see blight entry 1 sense 1)
The apple trees were blighted by fungus.
2
: to impair the quality or effect of
the condition that has blighted his son's lifePatricia Guthrie

intransitive verb

botany : to suffer from or become affected with blight
The potatoes blighted.

Examples of blight in a Sentence

Noun the city's spreading urban blight the expanding urban sprawl is a blight on the countryside Verb Builders blighted the land with malls and parking lots.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Fake pornography generated with software has been a blight since at least 2017, affecting unwilling celebrities, government figures, Twitch streamers, students and others. Tiffany Hsu, New York Times, 5 Feb. 2024 But in ‘95, there was an oleander blight and the disease spread quickly. Sacramento Bee, 30 Jan. 2024 If there are rust spots on the petals, the plant may be infected with Camellia petal blight. Steve Bender, Southern Living, 28 Jan. 2024 City officials believe the opening of the Food Hall might mean downtown San Jose is poised to reverse the dreary economic narrative of an empty district haunted by crime, blight, vacant offices and deserted retail spaces. George Avalos, The Mercury News, 24 Jan. 2024 The bill’s new approach to addressing blight would target specific properties that attract crime and authorize the mayor to take corrective action at the property owner’s expense. Meagan Flynn, Washington Post, 21 Dec. 2023 Friel is unsubtle about this: the famine will arrive in just a few years, and characters are already worried about the possibility of blight. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 3 Nov. 2023 This year’s new varieties include ‘Marmalade Skies,’ an orange tomato that resists blight and ‘Honey Bun’ acorn squash, a striking, variegated dumpling squash that resists powdery mildew. Leanne Potts, Better Homes & Gardens, 23 Jan. 2024 Throughout the story, beetles tunnel through the woodwork; blight fells the trees; a catamount, referenced in rumor or song, stalks the patch. Mark Athitakis, Los Angeles Times, 19 Dec. 2023
Verb
Where city leaders and business groups see an economic boon to the region, conservation groups such as Keep Fort Ord Wild see creeping commercialism blighting a pristine environment. Sam McManis, Sacramento Bee, 31 Jan. 2024 Which is to say, kitchens were heavily symbolic sites long before any of us became involved with the ones that bless or blight our individual lives. Charlotte Observer, 30 Jan. 2024 Johnson is against, very much against — portraying Napoleon as the forerunner to, and model for, the egomaniacal dictators who blighted and bloodied the 20th century. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 18 Dec. 2023 The alternative of abandoning Skid Row’s largest landlord, city officials say, would destroy affordable housing, blight the community and force scores of people onto the streets. Liam Dillon, Los Angeles Times, 4 Dec. 2023 Plague and war might have blighted the 14th century, but men's couture sparked a fashion revolution. Ana María Velasco, Premium, 17 Jan. 2024 Indeed, from malaise to criminality to blight, so much of the modern urban experience seems to mirror what cities went through in that fraught decade. Daniel Foster, National Review, 30 Nov. 2023 By the time of Picasso’s death in 1973, the excesses of package tourism were beginning to blight the coastline, and, as the century drew to a close, parts of the city were scruffy and dangerous. Lisa Johnson, Condé Nast Traveler, 20 Nov. 2023 Jose Sarmento Matos/Bloomberg via Getty Images London’s hospitality sector is booming as bookings for Christmas parties soar past 2019 levels, following years blighted by Covid-19 lockdowns and strikes. Ellie Harmsworth, Fortune Europe, 13 Dec. 2023 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

of obscure origin

Verb

verbal derivative of blight entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1695, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of blight was in 1578

Dictionary Entries Near blight

Cite this Entry

“Blight.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blight. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

blight

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: a disease of plants marked by withering and death of parts (as leaves)
b
: an organism that causes blight
2
a
: something that harms or destroys
b
: a damaged or worsened condition
urban blight

blight

2 of 2 verb
1
: to affect with blight
2
: to damage or worsen the quality or condition of
slums and blighted areas
3
: to suffer from or become affected with blight

Medical Definition

blight

noun
Australian
: an inflammation of the eye in which the eyelids discharge a thick mucous substance that often seals them up for days and minute granular pustules develop inside the lid

called also sandy blight

More from Merriam-Webster on blight

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!