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 Guard Noah Kirkwood returned after missing Thursday night’s Siena game with an illness., "Harvard lost to Buffalo, 88-76, as part of the James Naismith Classic in Toronto. Aiken, the Crimson’s best player, had been missing for four games because of an injury, but he came off the bench to lead the team with 18 points, shooting 6 for 14 but also committing five turnovers.," 19 Nov. 2019 Dragic was questionable for Thursday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers due to an illness but played against the Cavaliers, recording 9 points and 7 assists. Khobi Price,, "Goran Dragic out, Jimmy Butler plays against Pelicans despite being listed as questionable; New Orleans rules 7 players out," 16 Nov. 2019 Danette Fay Walcott passed away on Saturday, October 12th after enduring a lengthy fight with illness., "Danette Fay Walcott," 14 Nov. 2019 Anas Haqqani is the son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, who founded the Haqqani terror network under his name in the 1970s and is said to have died after an illness in 2018. NBC News, "Afghan president: Taliban to release 2 kidnapped American University professors in prisoner swap," 12 Nov. 2019 Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is active for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals after missing practice on Thursday with an illness. Daniel Oyefusi,, "Ravens QB Lamar Jackson active, CB Cyrus Jones inactive vs. Bengals," 10 Nov. 2019 Armaan Franklin has battled his own issues, an ankle problem and an illness. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "IU basketball vs. Gannon what to watch: How much will Jerome Hunter play, who's healthy?," 28 Oct. 2019 Meningococcal disease is an illness caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, which are often severe and can be deadly. Fox News, "Boston toddler diagnosed with meningococcal disease on life support, mom says," 26 Oct. 2019 This is what patients crave: some empathy for what one is going through, how an illness is disrupting your life or triggering panic or shock. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Should we be testing doctors for empathy?," 24 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for illness

Time Traveler

The first known use of illness was circa 1500

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Statistics for illness

Last Updated

23 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Illness.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 5 December 2019.

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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

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