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 North Dakota has been so short-staffed on medical workers that last week Burgum announced that personnel who have tested positive for the disease can continue working in coronavirus units, a move criticized by local nurses. NBC News, "Nov. 19 Coronavirus updates: Latest pandemic news and information," 20 Nov. 2020 Teams were originally required to adopt the intensive protocols only when someone in their building tested positive for the disease, but now, the protocols will apply to all teams regardless of a positive test. Spencer Neale, Washington Examiner, "NFL to roll out intensive coronavirus restrictions starting Saturday: Report," 18 Nov. 2020 With DeWine at Lunken Airport was Dr. Tom Lamarre, chief medical officer for infectious disease at the Christ Hospital Health Network. Anne Saker, The Enquirer, "Curfew 'reflects the desperate situation that we're in': Gov. DeWine makes stop in Cincinnati," 18 Nov. 2020 Only children and adults who are at high risk for severe disease will be eligible, the state says, adding that those patients were highlighted as potential candidates by federal regulators. Christopher Snowbeck, Star Tribune, "Minnesota receiving drug to decrease COVID-19 hospitalizations," 17 Nov. 2020 The number of patients hospitalized for the disease continues to climb. Susannah Bryan, sun-sentinel.com, "COVID-19 in Florida: 10,105 new cases, 30 more dead," 15 Nov. 2020 The numbers — with more than 7,000 people testing positive for the disease on some days — make that clear. Guy Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'People in the community don't seem to care': Wisconsin hospitals' struggles with COVID surge isn't getting people to change behavior," 13 Nov. 2020 Hospitalizations for the disease are at their peak, but the death rate is way down. Roxanne Khamsi, Wired, "'Proning' Covid Patients Seems to Save Lives. But How Many?," 12 Nov. 2020 Trump, fresh off his reelection loss to President-elect Joe Biden, remains angry that an announcement about progress in developing a vaccine for the disease came after Election Day. Aamer Madhani And Zeke Miller, chicagotribune.com, "Trump, stewing over election loss, silent as COVID-19 surges across US at alarming pace," 12 Nov. 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

24 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disease.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disease. Accessed 1 Dec. 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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