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 Of those, 1,464 have died from COVID-19, the respiratory disease the virus causes. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Philharmonic pop-up, college cheaters, debating the response: News from around our 50 states," 14 Oct. 2020 Germany’s new coronavirus cases increased at their fastest pace since the height of the pandemic in the latest sign of how Europe is struggling to keep the disease in check. Patrick Donahue, Bloomberg.com, "Europe Tightens Rules, Calls for Sacrifice as Virus Cases Rise," 13 Oct. 2020 Rose Garden event, including the two GOP senators, have contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The Associated Press, NOLA.com, "Watch live: Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett to face senators on health care, legal precedent," 13 Oct. 2020 Rose Garden event, including the two GOP senators, have contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Mark Sherman, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Watch live: Amy Coney Barrett faces senators on health care, legal precedent," 13 Oct. 2020 The disease has spread relatively slowly in Mozambique, a country of 30 million, despite never having a 'lockdown' like in neighboring countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe. Tom Bowker, Star Tribune, "Mozambique's health minister says test shows he has COVID-19," 13 Oct. 2020 Health workers there were delivering the polio vaccine door-to-door, in an effort to eradicate the disease from one of its last holdouts in the world, but the governor of Kano state had decided to boycott the endeavor. Jenny Anderson, New York Times, "She Hunts Viral Rumors About Real Viruses," 13 Oct. 2020 Endemic disease is therefore the most likely outcome. Popular Science, "COVID-19 might not ever truly go away," 13 Oct. 2020 When a small study in France suggested the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine might be effective at treating the disease, Trump and others seized on it. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "Eight Persistent COVID-19 Myths and Why People Believe Them," 12 Oct. 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

19 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disease.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disease. Accessed 29 Oct. 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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