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

Definition of illness

b : an unhealthy condition of body or mind
2 obsolete

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The narrator’s efforts to survive and treat his illness make up much of the book’s emotional core., 12 May 2022 Live actor-comedian known for his deadpan delivery was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 but kept his illness private. James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 May 2022 Macdonald, who died last September at the age of 61, was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 but kept his illness private. Mark Heim |, al, 12 May 2022 But doctors still did not know what was causing her illness. Washington Post, 11 May 2022 His illness started with a nagging headache and an earache. Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2022 The lawsuit was filed by the estate of Gerardo Cruz-Sanchez in 2017, alleging staff at Otay Mesa Detention Center repeatedly ignored his pleas for care and were negligent in treating his worsening illness in February 2016. Kristina Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 May 2022 Since then, all nine children have recovered or are recovering, but the cause of their illness remains unknown. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 5 May 2022 The cough drop, as always, promises to keep your illness between you and your remedy. New York Times, 4 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of illness

circa 1500, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

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Time Traveler for illness

Time Traveler

The first known use of illness was circa 1500

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Dictionary Entries Near illness



illness anxiety disorder

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Statistics for illness

Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Illness.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for illness


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

More from Merriam-Webster on illness

Nglish: Translation of illness for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of illness for Arabic Speakers


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