dis·​ease | \ di-ˈzēz How to pronounce disease (audio) \

Definition of disease

1 : a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms : sickness, malady infectious diseases a rare genetic disease heart disease
2 : a harmful development (as in a social institution) sees the city's crime as a disease
3 obsolete : trouble

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Examples of disease in a Sentence

He suffers from a rare genetic disease. a disease of the mind Thousands die of heart disease each year. They are working to stop the spread of disease in rural areas. The article cites intolerance as one of the most dangerous of society's diseases. He sees crime as a disease that too often plagues the poor and disadvantaged.
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Recent Examples on the Web Age, job, social network and individual biological responses to infection are all factors in disease transmission. Wsj Noted., WSJ, "What You Need to Know About Herd Immunity," 22 Sep. 2020 Several other drugs have been produced from monoclonal antibodies in the past, including Humira, which is used to treat conditions like arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Melody Schreiber, The New Republic, "The Promising New Covid-19 Therapy You Probably Haven’t Heard About," 22 Sep. 2020 This was summer in the District — disease and desolation punctured by pockets of joyful commerce, spread across sidewalks, street corners and public parks. Washington Post, "Live updates: Trump incorrectly claims that coronavirus affects ‘virtually’ no young people," 22 Sep. 2020 However, many lung injuries can heal, says Panagis Galiasatos, an expert on lung disease at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, "These COVID symptoms could last for months," 22 Sep. 2020 Byrne is the communicable disease coordinator for District Health Department 10, which covers 10 counties in northwest Michigan. Freep.com, "In one Michigan county, almost half the COVID-19 cases are tied to farm outbreaks," 22 Sep. 2020 Besides its labs, experts and strategic stockpiles, the U.S. could boast of its disease trackers and plans for rapidly communicating lifesaving information during a crisis. Carla K. Johnson, Anchorage Daily News, "Official US death toll from coronavirus tops ‘unfathomable’ 200,000," 22 Sep. 2020 Back in July, Julia Marcus, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Harvard Medical School, rightfully predicted that colleges were going to blame students' behavior for any Covid-19 outbreaks. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "Colleges knew the risks but they reopened anyway. Here's how they got it all wrong," 22 Sep. 2020 But that shot had perfect effectiveness and was designed to prevent a disease with a sky-high death rate. Robert Langreth, Bloomberg.com, "Pfizer Is On Track to Be First to Find Out If Its Covid Vaccine Works," 22 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disease.' 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 disease

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for disease

Middle English disese, from Anglo-French desease, desaise, from des- dis- + eise ease

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Time Traveler for disease

Time Traveler

The first known use of disease was in the 14th century

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Statistics for disease

Last Updated

25 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disease.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disease. Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for disease


How to pronounce disease (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of disease

: an illness that affects a person, animal, or plant : a condition that prevents the body or mind from working normally
: a problem that a person, group, organization, or society has and cannot stop


dis·​ease | \ di-ˈzēz How to pronounce disease (audio) \

Kids Definition of disease

: a change in a living body (as of a person or plant) that prevents it from functioning normally : sickness


dis·​ease | \ diz-ˈēz How to pronounce disease (audio) \

Medical Definition of disease

: an impairment of the normal state of the living animal or plant body or one of its parts that interrupts or modifies the performance of the vital functions, is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms, and is a response to environmental factors (as malnutrition, industrial hazards, or climate), to specific infective agents (as worms, bacteria, or viruses), to inherent defects of the organism (as genetic anomalies), or to combinations of these factors : sickness, illness

called also morbus

— compare health sense 1

Other Words from disease

diseased \ -​ˈēzd How to pronounce diseased (audio) \ adjective

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