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 Data suggest that unvaccinated people who survive COVID-19 will be far more protected if they get vaccinated after recovering from their illness. Los Angeles Times, 7 Oct. 2021 Sherry Henson, the mother of the family, and her daughter Amanda were both hospitalized, but Amanda didn’t survive her illness. Ramsey Archibald |, al, 6 Oct. 2021 The state is continuing to receiving more monoclonal antibody treatments, a drug that’s shown to keep some people with COVID-19 who are at high risk for severe complications out of the hospital when treatment is sought early on in their illness. Annie Berman, Anchorage Daily News, 6 Oct. 2021 The magnitude of her illness is devastating to her. NBC News, 1 Oct. 2021 Burke credits the mildness of her illness to the fact that she is fully vaccinated. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, 30 Sep. 2021 Felber told Vogue that her chronic illness led to their whirlwind engagement. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, 29 Sep. 2021 His illness would soon help doctors make a crucial connection. Zoya Teirstein, Wired, 25 Sep. 2021 Burgess is still struggling with fatigue and stress from her illness and is taking high blood pressure medication. Lautaro Grinspan, ajc, 23 Sep. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near illness



illness anxiety disorder

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Statistics for illness

Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Illness.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Oct. 2021.

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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

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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