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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Most recovered, but about 5% died of lung complications that reminded their medical officers of the pneumonic form of plague. William F. Bynum, WSJ, "‘Pandemic 1918’ and ‘Influenza’ Review: Fire, Ice or Virus?," 4 Jan. 2019 Only an independent, a nonparty person, may spread his contempt evenly, offering a plague on the condominiums of all these politicians and many more. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, "Don’t Invite Me to a Party if It’s a Political One," 15 Aug. 2018 The Eternal Jew, an anti-Semitic propaganda film released in 1940, compares a map of Jewish migration to a pulsating pile of rats; Jews weren’t just considered animals, but plague-bearing animals at that. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Why Tyrants Dehumanize the Powerless," 20 June 2018 The plague-causing Yersinia pestis bacteria lives in rodents. Ike Swetlitz, Scientific American, "Ancient Teeth Unlock Plague Secrets," 8 June 2018 The plague-causing Yersinia pestis bacteria lives in rodents. Ike Swetlitz, STAT, "A set of ancient teeth unlock a bacterial secret about the bubonic plague," 8 June 2018 Scientists reconstructed the genome of an ancient plague in 2016, which may shed new light on how certain diseases can either mysteriously disappear or continue to evolve and spread. Katy Scott, CNN, "Why warriors in New Guinea used human bones as formidable daggers," 5 May 2018 The plague suddenly appears and takes on the forms of a beautiful woman, a goat, and a pig. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "Bizarre farce turns tragic in Estonian black comedy ‘November’," 11 Apr. 2018 But Bolsonaro’s straight talk and strong stance on combating the violence and political corruption that plague Brazil have led him to the top of the presidential polls, with 32% of the intended vote. Jill Langlois, Teen Vogue, "Brazilian Presidential Candidate Jair Bolsonaro Has Inspired Massive Women's Protests, Just Like Donald Trump," 5 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The vote was plagued by untrained poll workers, incomplete voter-registration lists and delays in opening polling stations. Ehsanullah Amiri, WSJ, "Afghan Official Raises Prospect of Postponing April Presidential Vote," 26 Dec. 2018 Toward the end of the month, Fortnite’s island was plagued by a lightning storm, which ultimately birthed one of the game’s great mysteries: a giant purple cube. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "The year in Fortnite," 18 Dec. 2018 As the hometown of white supremacist Richard Spencer, Whitefish, a resort town on the edge of Glacier National Park, was plagued by racist and anti-Semitic internet trolling and threats in early 2017. Chad Sokol, The Seattle Times, "Washington Rep. Matt Shea to join Ammon Bundy at conspiracy-theorist gathering in Whitefish, Montana," 12 Oct. 2018 The political campaign itself was plagued by violence: more than 120 politicians and political workers have been killed since last September. The Economist, "Will AMLO deliver?," 5 July 2018 LeGrier apparently was plagued by mental health problems and had run-ins with police, records show. Dan Hinkel, chicagotribune.com, "Trial opens in 2015 police shooting in which bat-wielding teen and bystander were killed," 18 June 2018 Instead of bulldozing through the competition like many expected, the Warriors were plagued by uninspired defense, silly turnovers and blown box-outs. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "A dynasty secured," 13 June 2018 His time at United was plagued by injuries and poor performances and he was sold to Besiktas in 2005 having made just 20 Premier League appearances. SI.com, "Man Utd Flop Reveals How Ronaldinho Betrayed Him Over Old Trafford Move," 12 June 2018 Check out the pics for yourself, below: The rainy day is actually good news for Dubbo, which has been plagued with an intense drought over the past few years. Zoe Weiner, Glamour, "These Pics of Meghan Markle Holding an Umbrella For Prince Harry Are Just So Pure," 17 Oct. 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.

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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

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Statistics for plague

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plague

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on plague

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plague

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plague

Spanish Central: Translation of plague

Nglish: Translation of plague for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plague for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about plague

Comments on plague

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