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 The drug candidate, known as pegcetacoplan, takes aim at a genetic disease known as paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, or PNH. Kate Sheridan, STAT, "Apellis Pharmaceuticals’ drug candidate outperforms Alexion’s Soliris in a clinical trial comparing the two," 7 Jan. 2020 Their unique shape helps remove disease-causing plaque and tartar, while also refreshing that horrible dog breath (no offense, pups). Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, "The 5 best Amazon new year deals you can get right now," 3 Jan. 2020 Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic made headlines in December for a pregame moment with a 22-month-old Slovenian boy with a rare genetic disease. Dallas News, "Mavs superstar Luka Doncic has duo of heartwarming moments with young fan," 3 Jan. 2020 There is also a disease called coffee rust, spread by spores on the wind. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Clustering pattern of Azteca ant colonies may be due to a Turing mechanism," 2 Jan. 2020 Believers maintain that crystals act as conduits that allow positive energy to flow into the body as negative, disease-causing energy flows out. Cathy Alter, Washington Post, "Calming nerves and blocking bullies: Behold the healing power of crystals and gems," 2 Jan. 2020 Took her own life after living with pain from a degenerative spinal disease. Bernard Mcghee, Twin Cities, "Final goodbye: Recalling influential people who died in 2019," 29 Dec. 2019 Rabies is a fatal disease with a small window of time for treatment immediately following infection. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Utqiagvik is under a citywide rabies quarantine," 24 Dec. 2019 The teen, who suffers from epidermolysis bullosa, a rare disease that causes his skin to blister incredibly easily, is near-constantly wrapped in bandages to protect his fragile skin. Fox News, "Wisconsin teen diagnosed with cancer while battling rare 'butterfly skin' disease: 'He is resilient'," 21 Dec. 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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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

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disease.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diseased. Accessed 21 January 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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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).


good-natured easy friendliness

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