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

At least three Houston teenagers have been hospitalized with serious lung illnesses following e-cigarette use, according to the Houston health department. Todd Ackerman, Houston Chronicle, "3 in Houston hospitalized with vaping-related lung illness," 10 Sep. 2019 Frey, who now lives in Florida, is one of many 9/11 first responders with serious illnesses brought on by exposure to the dust, smoke and chemicals of Ground Zero. Cindy Dampier,, "Deaths of 9/11 first responders from Ground Zero-related illnesses are on the rise — diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis are just beginning to take their toll," 10 Sep. 2019 In late August, Massachusetts reported that a woman had died after being infected with the illness. Hollie Silverman, CNN, "A third person has died of EEE, a rare mosquito-borne illness, in the United States," 10 Sep. 2019 Lian is determined and passionate about empowering Arab women to achieve economic independence, raising awareness to issues pertinent to minorities, and acting as an advocate for those with invisible illnesses and different abilities., "Community News For The West Hartford Edition," 9 Sep. 2019 The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said some type of chemical exposure is likely associated with the illnesses, but more information is needed to determine the exact cause. CBS News, "Three more deaths and at least 450 illnesses linked to vaping nationwide," 6 Sep. 2019 At least 215 people in 25 states have come down with the lung illness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. oregonlive, "Vaping death and outbreak of severe lung disease linked to marijuana oil in e-cigarettes: What we know," 5 Sep. 2019 Between Thursday and Tuesday, 298 patients across 25 states, including Ohio, were hospitalized with severe pulmonary illness after vaping tobacco products or dabbing marijuana oils, extracts or concentrates, SCPH said in a news release. Robin Goist,, "Summit County Public Health says stop using vape, dab pens in light of rise in users with respiratory illness," 3 Sep. 2019 The Trump administration is seeking to deport immigrant children with life-threatening illnesses. Petra Cahill, NBC News, "Florida on alert, Hong Kong activists detained & senior gamers: The Morning Rundown," 30 Aug. 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

14 Sep 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).


to make a temporary encampment

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