plague

noun
\ ˈplāg How to pronounce plague (audio) \

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

The wake starting inside is for a stranger, another young man consumed by the great American plague. Claire Galofaro, The Seattle Times, "Moms of the dead from drugs: “Where is the outrage for us?”," 29 Jan. 2019 The small houses—with their tiny backyards, basement kitchens, and outside wash houses—survived plagues, demolitions, and redevelopments. Sophie Davies, Condé Nast Traveler, "15 Best Museums in Sydney," 23 Mar. 2018 Whatever the cause, researchers said, the sea star larvae that came from the few animals with plague-resistant genetics survived and thrived. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Starfish on California coast, nearly wiped out by mystery illness, make stunning recovery," 22 June 2018 Trucks from the South bring a plague into the city. Linda Kinstler, Longreads, "Angrily Experiencing the Best Days of Our Lives," 27 June 2018 In more modern plagues, researchers have placed the blame on the rats—and more specifically on the fleas that drink their blood. Mika Mckinnon, Smithsonian, "Are Rats Innocent of Spreading the Black Plague?," 17 Jan. 2018 The first mention of ravens at the Tower appears not in the 1600s, when Charles reigned through the years of plague and fire, but during the Victorian age, when gothic revival was all the rage and Charles Dickens kept a raven as a pet. William Booth, The Seattle Times, "The secrets of the royal ravenmaster at the Tower of London," 26 Oct. 2018 Its May release of Chrome 66 muted sites that played sound automatically, saving internet users from the plague of annoying auto-playing videos. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Google is delaying a change that will break old web games — again," 15 Oct. 2018 Buy Photo At the once-bustling Burlington Center mall, extinct department stores perch on the edge of a bleak asphalt sea, spiky weeds bob in the summer breeze, and some trees are dying as if from a plague. Kevin Riordan, Philly.com, "All sales final: N.J.'s 'worst' and 'saddest' shopping mall is going out of business," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

As the 20th anniversary of the massacre neared, The New York Times reported that locals in Jefferson County, home to Columbine High School, are still grappling with the trauma of that day, even as copycats have plagued the town for years. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "On the Columbine Shooting's 20th Anniversary, How Do We Make Sense of Senseless Violence?," 20 Apr. 2019 Dear Irving on Hudson 310 West 40th St The question of where to grab a drink pre-or-post theatre has long plagued chic urbanites. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "The New York City Restaurants to Know This Winter," 4 Feb. 2019 Good news for you and your closet: Those little white flakes aren't about to plague your black jackets forever. Sam Escobar, Good Housekeeping, "5 Dandruff Treatments That Actually Work, According to Dermatologists," 13 Dec. 2018 Wouldn’t withdrawing his nomination, and putting up another conservative who’s not plagued by scandal, be far more ... reasonable? Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Why the Senate majority leader keeps pushing so hard to confirm Brett Kavanaugh.," 3 Oct. 2018 The city admits that the space has been plagued by transients, crime and loitering. Karen Pearlman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Architecture students hope to freshen Lemon Grove park," 11 July 2018 The troubles that plagued New Jersey’s team, Sky Blue, were well documented last year after former player Sam Kerr, now with Chicago, hinted at issues. Anne M. Peterson, The Seattle Times, "NWSL’s 7th season opens, looks for bump in World Cup year," 13 Apr. 2019 Lewinsky told Oliver that the fact that the scandal was named after her and not Clinton was evidence of the rampant sexism that plagued the media coverage of the event. Vogue, "Monica Lewinsky Once Dressed Up as Herself for a ’90s Halloween Party," 18 Mar. 2019 Issues of workplace safety for women, and especially for women of color, are but a symptom of the power inbalance that plagues nearly every sector. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Ryan Seacrest Faces Backlash for Wearing 'Time's Up' Bracelet on Golden Globes Red Carpet," 7 Jan. 2019

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

22 May 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)

old-fashioned : 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 How to pronounce plague (audio) \

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 How to pronounce plague (audio) \

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

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