dis·​ease | \di-ˈzēz \

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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Other Words from disease

diseased \-​ˈzēzd \ adjective

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

That said, the disease can be more dangerous for the elderly, children under 5, and people with weakened immune systems — and serious cases may require antibiotics and hospitalization. Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue, "A Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Raw Turkey Has Spread to 35 States," 13 Nov. 2018 The disease is easy to pass on because those who are infected may not know it for the first three to six days, since there are no symptoms, said Mark Reed, director of the Dartmouth College Health Service. Douglas Belkin, WSJ, "Colleges Try to Stop Spread of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease," 19 Oct. 2018 Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease is a rare brain disorder caused by misfolding brain proteins called prions. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "A Man Contracted a Rare, Fatal Disease From Eating Squirrel Brains," 17 Oct. 2018 The disease is so common that not all cases are reported, and flu is not always listed on death certificates. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "Flu season last winter killed the most people since the 1970s, CDC says," 26 Sep. 2018 The Olympian is certainly younger than most breast cancer patients; the disease is more likely to occur in women in their 50s and 60s. Blake Bakkila, Health.com, "35-Year-Old Olympic Gold Medalist Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis in Emotional Post," 12 July 2018 Much of the research on gene-drive mosquitoes is carried out in countries where the disease is not endemic. Anthony A. James, STAT, "Gene-drive technology must be developed in a safe, ethical way," 10 July 2018 And after all the mice in both groups had died, Kirkland’s team could find no difference in the mix of diseases that had caused their demise. Melissa Healy, latimes.com, "This drug cocktail reduced signs of age-related diseases and extended life in mice and human cells," 10 July 2018 Once these symptoms occur, the disease is nearly always fatal. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan health officials see uptick in bats with rabies," 3 July 2018

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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Statistics for disease

Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for disease

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

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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 \

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 \

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 \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on disease

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disease

Spanish Central: Translation of disease

Nglish: Translation of disease for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of disease for Arabic Speakers

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