plague

noun
\ˈplāg \

Definition of plague 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a disastrous evil or affliction : calamity

b : a destructively numerous influx or multiplication of a noxious animal : infestation a plague of locusts

2a : 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

3a : a cause of irritation : nuisance

b : a sudden unwelcome outbreak a plague of burglaries

plague

verb
plagued; plaguing

Definition of plague (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to smite, infest, or afflict with or as if with disease, calamity, or natural evil

2a : to cause worry or distress to : hamper, burden

b : to disturb or annoy persistently

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from plague

Verb

plaguer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for plague

Verb

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The ten plagues of Egypt, typically called out during the meal as a reminder of how God encouraged the Egyptians to release the Israelites? Debra Filcman, Chicago Reader, "These teenage girls are leading an exodus from rape culture this Passover," 27 Mar. 2018 For farmers, protecting fields from pests and plagues is a constant battle fought on multiple fronts. Brooke Borel, Scientific American, "Weeds Are Winning the War against Herbicide Resistance," 18 June 2018 But as the 60s turned into the 70s, the city’s bohemian enclaves were gripped by malaise, Flower Power dreams withering amid rising violence and a plague of hard drugs. Jody Rosen, Smithsonian, "This Secret Corner of California Is a Paradise for Lovers of Great Food and Top-Notch Wines," 14 June 2018 The previous game centered on a plague of children born without souls in the wake of a bloody crusade. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire," 4 June 2018 Nick and his new wife, Eden (Sydney Sweeney), are joined together in holy matrimony to further the thesis of Gilead: making Gilead-worshipping babies, and saving humanity from a plague of infertility. refinery29.com, "The Subversive Role Of Religion In The Handmaid's Tale," 16 May 2018 The popular Yoshino cherry trees that line the Tidal Basin don’t seem to produce the same blossom pileup issues on the ground that plague the Kwanzans. Kevin Ambrose, Washington Post, "Kwanzan cherry trees are exploding in pink — but they are such a mess," 7 May 2018 Mayor Kobayashi is a strongman in the modern mold, fanning the flames of public fear about a canine plague for which a cure has already been found, but secretly concealed. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Isle of Dogs’ Review: Wes Anderson Unleashed," 22 Mar. 2018 The second clip has NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune coastal environment reporter Tristan Baurick talking about the plague of insects wiping out roseau cane, a wetland plant that's critically important for the coast's stability. Tristan Baurick, NOLA.com, "'Our Drowning Coast' reporters discuss project on national radio show," 6 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That kind of forced defensiveness over the hyphen, which plagued German and Japanese Americans in wartime, has been a constant for Mexican Americans. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "SBOE debate highlights the cynical stigma of the hyphen," 16 June 2018 But over Klinsmann’s five and a half years leading the team, the problems that had plagued him during his previous coaching stints surfaced with the U.S. team. Andrew Helms, The New Republic, "The Joy of Watching a World Cup Without the U.S.," 11 June 2018 Slow starts have plagued Nadal in several of his matches this fortnight, most notably against 11th-Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem for 11th French Open title," 10 June 2018 Republic, which operates about 950 flights a day on behalf of major airlines such as Delta and U.S. Airways, is hoping the new academy will help address a pilot shortage that has plagued the company in recent years. Kaitlin Lange, Indianapolis Star, "Republic Airways launches pilot school at Indianapolis airport and plans to add 600 jobs," 31 May 2018 Foreshadowing the production problems that would plague the company in the future, early versions of the Roadster were slower than a $30,000 Honda S2000. Brent Goldfarb And David Kirsch, Vox, "Why is Elon Musk raging at “big media”? Because he’s finally being called on his tall tales.," 30 May 2018 That would mean around 89,000 people in the U.S. right now are plagued by the condition. National Geographic, "Think Your Body Is Infested With Insects? You're Not Alone.," 22 June 2018 And Rhodes avoided similar issues that have plagued his ThorSport Racing team for much of the season. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville native Ben Rhodes takes NASCAR victory at Kentucky Speedway," 12 July 2018 Still, the veteran took the unusual measure of throwing in the bullpen after being pulled, evidently trying to work through whatever mechanical issue has plagued him the past three starts. Kevin Acee, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Wil Myers' homer matters this time, Padres down Diamondbacks in 16," 8 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plague.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of plague

Noun

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

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plague

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about plague

Statistics for plague

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plague

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for plague

plague

noun

English Language Learners Definition of plague

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a large number of harmful or annoying things

: a disease that causes death and that spreads quickly to a large number of people

plague

verb

English Language Learners Definition of plague (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause constant or repeated trouble, illness, etc., for (someone or something)

: to cause constant worry or distress to (someone)

plague

noun
\ˈplāg \

Kids Definition of plague

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that causes much distress a plague of locusts

2 : a disease that causes death and spreads quickly to a large number of people

plague

verb
plagued; plaguing

Kids Definition of plague (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to affect with disease or trouble Fleas plague the poor dog.

2 : to cause worry or distress to I'm plagued by guilt.

plague

noun
\ˈplāg \

Medical Definition of plague 

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on plague

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!