ill·​ness | \ ˈil-nəs \

Definition of illness 

b : an unhealthy condition of body or mind

2 obsolete

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Examples of illness in a Sentence

Her body was not able to defend itself against illness. Hundreds of soldiers died from illness and hunger. He showed no signs of illness. Scientists have not yet found a cure for this illness. cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses She died at the age of 60 after a brief illness.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Getty Images Fans of beloved Modern Family actress Sarah Hyland know that she's been candid in the past about her lifelong struggle with chronic illness, but there's more to the story. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Sarah Hyland Talks to 'Self' About Her Second Kidney Transplant and Suicidal Thoughts," 10 Dec. 2018 The idea behind it is that our Western pattern of eating is contributing to the rise of chronic illness and obesity. Amy Capetta, Good Housekeeping, "Paleo Versus Keto: Which Is the Better Diet for You?," 10 Dec. 2018 The virus can exacerbate chronic illnesses, too, masking the viral trigger. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Last year’s flu was brutal—killing 80,000—but vaccine did better than expected," 27 Sep. 2018 Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, the country's No. 2 after the ruling Communist Party's leader, died Friday after a serious illness, the government said. Fox News, "Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang dies of illness at 61," 21 Sep. 2018 Leo Gerard Raboin, 70, of Plainville, passed away in the comfort of his home surrounded by his loving family on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 after a lengthy illness., "Leo Gerard Raboin," 13 July 2018 Randy Harvey, a renowned umpire who has called games for more than 3 decades in college and the major leagues, had both his legs amputated after a mysterious illness that doctors still haven’t determined the source. Stephen Ruiz,, "Umpires rally around Sanford peer after infection costs him his legs," 6 July 2018 Jewel-Osco President Doug Cygan died Thursday morning after a brief illness. Greg Trotter,, "Jewel-Osco President Doug Cygan dead at 55," 5 July 2018 Alan Longmuir, founding bass player with the Bay City Rollers, the Scottish ‘70s pop phenomenon, has died following a brief illness. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Alan Longmuir, Founding Bass Player With Bay City Rollers, Dies at 70," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'illness.' 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 illness

circa 1500, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

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Statistics for illness

Last Updated

5 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for illness

The first known use of illness was circa 1500

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More Definitions for illness



English Language Learners Definition of illness

: a condition of being unhealthy in your body or mind

: a specific condition that prevents your body or mind from working normally : a sickness or disease


ill·​ness | \ ˈil-nəs \

Kids Definition of illness

1 : an unhealthy condition of the body or mind Germs can cause illness.
2 : a specific sickness or disease Colds are a common illness.


ill·​ness | \ ˈil-nəs \

Medical Definition of illness 

: an unhealthy condition of body or mind : sickness

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More from Merriam-Webster on illness

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with illness

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for illness

Spanish Central: Translation of illness

Nglish: Translation of illness for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of illness for Arabic Speakers

Comments on illness

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marked by shyness and lack of polish

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