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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Other Words from disease

diseased \ di-​ˈzēzd How to pronounce diseased (audio) \ 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 More than 80 percent of the animals have since been infected and killed by this contagious disease and a second, very similar transmissible cancer, which threatens the species with extinction. Douglas Main, National Geographic, "Rare cancers spreading among sea creatures have scientists perplexed," 8 Nov. 2019 Sudden oak death is an exotic disease that was discovered in Mill Valley in 1995. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Sudden oak death spreading fast, California’s coastal forests facing devastation," 7 Nov. 2019 This leads to issues like tooth decay, cavities, gingivitis, gum disease, and bad breath. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "10 Signs and Symptoms of High Blood Sugar to Be Aware Of," 6 Nov. 2019 Mumps, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a contagious disease caused by a virus. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "National FFA Convention exhibitor had mumps virus, state health officials say," 4 Nov. 2019 Measles may be the planet’s most contagious human pathogen, but on its own is not a very lethal disease. Wired, "How the Measles Virus Induces ‘Immune Amnesia’," 31 Oct. 2019 Cystic fibrosis has become a model for how to study, advocate for and develop drugs for other genetic diseases. Carolyn Y. Johnson, Anchorage Daily News, "Long-awaited cystic fibrosis drug could turn deadly disease into a manageable condition," 31 Oct. 2019 Maryland law considers rectal cancer to be an occupational disease for firefighters under certain conditions. Alison Knezevich, baltimoresun.com, "New focus on firefighter cancer: Baltimore-area departments say they recognize the risk and are making changes," 24 Oct. 2019 The reason is a combination of doctors being better at diagnosing these types of issues and environmental factors that will increase the incidence of celiac and other autoimmune diseases. Allyson Reedy, The Know, "How Holidaily Brewing and a couple food trucks created a gluten-free utopia in Golden," 16 Oct. 2019

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

15 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for disease

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

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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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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

Comments on disease

What made you want to look up disease? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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