dis·​ease di-ˈzēz How to pronounce disease (audio)
: 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
: a harmful development (as in a social institution)
sees the city's crime as a disease
obsolete : trouble

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Areas of study range from human cognition and the development of machine learning to the creation of disease-resistant crops and mitigation strategies for climate change, according to the UC website. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, 4 Dec. 2022 So how did an infectious disease that seemed to be raging out of control this summer become almost irrelevant three months later? Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, 3 Dec. 2022 The foliage is medium-glossy and very disease-resistant. Rita Perwich, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Dec. 2022 Some producers are investigating novel ways of exchanging genetics and starting new crops that are less likely to transmit the disease. Dan Adams, BostonGlobe.com, 3 Dec. 2022 The latter’s Parkinson’s disease is also beginning to get the best of the octogenarian. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 3 Dec. 2022 In Africa, the disease mainly affects people in contact with infected animals such as rodents and squirrels. Wire Reports, oregonlive, 3 Dec. 2022 Last month, the World Health Organization renamed monkeypox as mpox, citing concerns the original name of the decades-old animal disease could be construed as discriminatory and racist. Arkansas Online, 3 Dec. 2022 Blum, 91, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease on Nov. 3 at The Clare independent living community on the Near North Side, said her sister, Sandy Marks. Bob Goldsborough, Chicago Tribune, 2 Dec. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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

Dictionary Entries Near disease

Cite this Entry

“Disease.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disease. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


dis·​ease diz-ˈēz How to pronounce disease (audio)
: an abnormal bodily condition of a living plant or animal that interferes with functioning and can usually be recognized by signs and symptoms : illness
diseased adjective

Medical Definition


dis·​ease diz-ˈēz How to pronounce disease (audio)
: 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
diseased adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on disease

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