bubonic plague


Definition of bubonic plague 

: plague caused by a bacterium (Yersinia pestis) and characterized especially by the formation of buboes

Examples of bubonic plague in a Sentence

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Pandemics have recurred throughout history with devastating consequences, from the bubonic plague in the Middle Ages to the Spanish flu a century ago to HIV/AIDS in our own lifetimes. Ron Klain, Vox, "A pandemic killing tens of millions of people is a real possibility — and we are not prepared for it," 15 Oct. 2018 In the Middle Ages, the Little Garden Club of the Dardanelles actually imported bubonic plague to discourage pilgrims from stopping by picture-perfect Constantinople on their way to the Holy Land, before things got out of control. Joe Queenan, WSJ, "Skip the Selfie and Run: Busy Locales Get Tough With Tourists," 31 May 2018 So while most of us aren’t worried about demons, momentary death or the bubonic plague, today it’s considered a polite gesture. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "The Crazy Reasons Why We Say, “Bless You” When Someone Sneezes," 18 May 2018 Nevertheless, the bubonic plague, which is characterized by buboes, or swollen lymph nodes in people, is the most common form, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "Idaho Boy Recovering From Plague," 14 June 2018 Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes bubonic plague, spreads through the bites of infected fleas. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "4,000-year-old genomes point to origins of bubonic plague," 12 June 2018 Plague—often referred to as bubonic plague, the most common form of the disease—can cause fever, chills, pain, and extreme exhaustion. Amanda Macmillan, Health.com, "An Idaho Child Was Diagnosed With the Plague. How Worried Should You Be?," 13 June 2018 Reaching England in the summer of 1348, this outbreak of bubonic plague killed between a third and a half of the population. Stephen Brumwell, WSJ, "‘The Black Prince’ Review: When Knighthood Was in Flower," 6 June 2018 People who indulge in this kind of rhetorical inflation are like rats spreading bubonic plague. A. O. Scott And Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "Dear Movie Industry, We Have Thoughts," 2 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bubonic plague.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bubonic plague

1803, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

22 Nov 2018

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The first known use of bubonic plague was in 1803

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More Definitions for bubonic plague

bubonic plague


English Language Learners Definition of bubonic plague

: a very serious disease that is spread especially by rats and that killed many people in the Middle Ages

bubonic plague

bu·​bon·​ic plague | \bü-ˈbä-nik, byü-\

Kids Definition of bubonic plague

: a dangerous disease which is spread by rats and in which fever, weakness, and swollen lymph nodes are present

bubonic plague


Medical Definition of bubonic plague 

: plague caused by a bacterium of the genus Yersinia (Y. pestis synonym Pasteurella pestis) and characterized especially by the formation of buboes — compare pneumonic plague

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