plague

1 of 2

noun

1
a
: a disastrous evil or affliction : calamity
b
: a destructively numerous influx or multiplication of a noxious animal : infestation
a plague of locusts
2
a
: an epidemic disease causing a high rate of mortality : pestilence
b
: a virulent contagious febrile disease that is caused by a bacterium (Yersinia pestis) and that occurs in bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic forms

called also black death

3
a
: a cause of irritation : nuisance
b
: a sudden unwelcome outbreak
a plague of burglaries

plague

2 of 2

verb

plagued; plaguing

transitive verb

1
: to smite, infest, or afflict with or as if with disease, calamity, or natural evil
2
a
: to cause worry or distress to : hamper, burden
b
: to disturb or annoy persistently
plaguer noun
Choose the Right Synonym for plague

worry, annoy, harass, harry, plague, pester, tease mean to disturb or irritate by persistent acts.

worry implies an incessant goading or attacking that drives one to desperation.

pursued a policy of worrying the enemy

annoy implies disturbing one's composure or peace of mind by intrusion, interference, or petty attacks.

you're doing that just to annoy me

harass implies petty persecutions or burdensome demands that exhaust one's nervous or mental power.

harassed on all sides by creditors

harry may imply heavy oppression or maltreatment.

the strikers had been harried by thugs

plague implies a painful and persistent affliction.

plagued all her life by poverty

pester stresses the repetition of petty attacks.

constantly pestered with trivial complaints

tease suggests an attempt to break down one's resistance or rouse to wrath.

children teased the dog

Examples of plague in a Sentence

Noun The country was hit by a plague of natural disasters that year. There has been a plague of bank robberies in the area. a plague that swept through the tribe in the 1600s Verb Computer viruses plague Internet users. Crime plagues the inner city. Drought and wildfires continue to plague the area.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Set in a city diminished by plague and a poisonous algae bloom, the narrator focuses her attention on her remaining relationships. Lorraine Berry, Los Angeles Times, 15 May 2024 The only conclusion to be drawn, then, is a sober and pessimistic one—that America will not rid itself of its violent white supremacist plague without a deeper reckoning about the very origins of the country. TIME, 14 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for plague 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'plague.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English plage, from Late Latin plaga, from Latin, blow; akin to Latin plangere to strike — more at plaint

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of plague was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near plague

Cite this Entry

“Plague.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plague. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

plague

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: a disastrous evil
b
: a large number of destructive pests
a plague of locusts
2
: an epidemic disease causing a high rate of death : pestilence
especially : a serious disease that is caused by a bacterium, occurs or has occurred in several forms including bubonic plague, and is usually passed to human beings from infected rodents and especially rats by the bite of a flea or is passed directly from person to person
3
: a cause or occasion of annoyance : nuisance

plague

2 of 2 verb
plagued; plaguing
1
: to strike or afflict with or as if with disease or evil
2
: to cause worry or distress to
plagued by a sense of guilt

Medical Definition

plague

noun
1
: an epidemic disease causing a high rate of mortality : pestilence
a plague of cholera
2
: a virulent contagious febrile disease that is caused by a bacterium of the genus Yersinia (Y. pestis synonym Pasteurella pestis), that occurs in bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic forms, and that is usually transmitted from rats to humans by the bite of infected fleas (as in bubonic plague) or directly from person to person (as in pneumonic plague)

called also black death

More from Merriam-Webster on plague

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