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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Brooks changed his not guilty plea in June to not guilty by reason of mental disease and defect, but two weeks ago withdrew the insanity defense. Gretchen Ehlke, ajc, 23 Sep. 2022 The spread of capitalism across the world brought fabulous wealth for a few, while spreading disease and violence for far more, its concern for the dead mostly limited to whether there were enough able bodies to carry on production for profit. Sarah Jaffe, The New Republic, 23 Sep. 2022 In an August issue of PEOPLE this year, Hoppus talked openly about his battle with the disease and the struggles he's faced with depression along the way. Giovana Gelhoren, Peoplemag, 21 Sep. 2022 Vaccines and treatments now offer some protection from severe disease and death, and cases are declining in most parts of the world. Brenda Goodman, CNN, 21 Sep. 2022 The governor may have good reason for caution, even if electric trucks lower fuel costs and reduce disease and pollution. John Lippert, Chicago Tribune, 18 Sep. 2022 For the first month, the animals will remain quarantined in an enclosure while monitored for disease and adaptation. Niha Masih, Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2022 For the first month, the animals will remain quarantined in an enclosure while monitored for disease and adaptation. Niha Masih, BostonGlobe.com, 17 Sep. 2022 Set just a few short years away from our time, the Parable of the Sower's world ravaged by war, disease, and chronic water shortages doesn't feel so far off. Robert English, EW.com, 17 Sep. 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.

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

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

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Last Updated

26 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Disease.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disease. Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for disease


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 disease (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on disease

Nglish: Translation of disease for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of disease for Arabic Speakers


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