ill·​ness | \ ˈil-nəs How to pronounce illness (audio) \

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 Deaths linked to the illness were confirmed in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, and Oregon. Leada Gore |, al, "Vaping lung illness spreads to 36 states, now blamed for 6 deaths," 16 Sep. 2019 And in the subsequent years, that number has slowly but steadily ticked up, due to the number of first responders and survivors in the affected areas succumbing to illnesses related to the air quality and other injuries sustained on that day. Danielle Turchiano,, "Column: Why Mariah Carey’s ‘Never Too Far’ could have been a post-9/11 anthem," 11 Sep. 2019 Children and elderly people might be more vulnerable to illness from waterborne bacteria, officials said. oregonlive, "Public health advisory issued for water at 3 Oregon coast beaches," 11 Sep. 2019 New manager Maurizio Sarri was forced to sit out his first two games in charge due to illness, but has now returned to take training and may be on the touchline for Saturday. Fiorentina's only injury concern might be new signing Pedro., "Fiorentina vs Juventus Preview: Where to Watch, Buy Tickets, Live Streams, Kick Off Time & Team News," 10 Sep. 2019 Progression of symptoms over several days with similarities to a viral illness. Stephanie Innes, azcentral, "Vaping may have caused respiratory illness in several Arizonans," 10 Sep. 2019 Air quality in Minnesota is generally rated good, but even low and moderate levels of air pollution can contribute to serious illness. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "St. Paul replaces 10 Public Works vehicles with energy-efficient alternatives," 9 Sep. 2019 There have been at least three deaths — in Illinois, Oregon and Indiana — due to the serious illness., "Sept. 9, 2019: It’s just another manic Monday," 9 Sep. 2019 Meanwhile, among the TV audience is a couple who lost a son to illness, and who find that the author’s story is similar to their late son’s., "Shaker Heights’ Zimcosky continues growth as person, author," 8 Sep. 2019

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

26 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for illness

The first known use of illness was circa 1500

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More Definitions for illness


How to pronounce illness (audio)

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 How to pronounce illness (audio) \

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 How to pronounce illness (audio) \

Medical Definition of illness

: an unhealthy condition of body or mind : sickness

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More from Merriam-Webster on illness

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for illness

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with illness

Spanish Central: Translation of illness

Nglish: Translation of illness for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of illness for Arabic Speakers

Comments on illness

What made you want to look up illness? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not being in agreement or harmony

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