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

The clinics claim to treat a wide variety of ailments, from knee and shoulder injuries to autoimmune illnesses like multiple sclerosis and neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease. Erin Allday,, "Ruling against stem cell clinic has repercussions for industry, Calif. firm," 4 June 2019 These slipups could contribute to foodborne illness as well. Cassie Shortsleeve, SELF, "Should You Be Washing Chicken Before You Cook It?," 10 Apr. 2019 Saros made 27 saves after he was scratched from the lineup Friday night in Pittsburgh due to an illness. Jim Diamond, The Seattle Times, "Atkinson, Panarin lead Blue Jackets over Predators 5-2," 30 Mar. 2019 In a Facebook status update, Jen vaguely blames health issues for a months-long hiatus, though nothing in Glamour's interviews and the Harts’ emails and paperwork points to physical illness of any kind. Glamour, "Broken Harts, Episode 7: 'Stone-Cold Narcissist'," 22 Jan. 2019 During season 15’s Top 10 elimination night, Reagan wasn’t able to perform due to an unconfirmed illness. Megan Stein, Country Living, "'The Voice' Pairs Reagan Strange With Kennedy Holmes a Week After DeAndre Nico Controversy," 10 Dec. 2018 Most kinds pose no harm and even contribute to healthy digestion, but a few strains can lead to illness when transmitted through food, water, or other people and animals. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Romaine Lettuce Is Not Safe to Eat, CDC Warns After E. Coli Outbreak," 20 Nov. 2018 In the seven weeks since pitcher Noah Syndergaard landed on the disabled list, the Mets lost their general manager to illness, lost more players to injuries, and sunk to the worst record in the National League. James Wagner, New York Times, "Syndergaard Returns for Five Innings in Mets’ Win Over Nationals," 13 July 2018 Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever Early signs and symptoms of the infection are similar to other illnesses and include fever, headache, rash, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, muscle pain, and lack of appetite. CBS News, "Latest death shines light on tick-borne disease Rocky Mountain spotted fever," 12 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

8 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

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

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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