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

Some joked that the product has been a plague for a near-decade. Jake Shapiro, The Denver Post, "Colorado Rapids fans embrace plague with costumes, chants," 3 Aug. 2019 A dozen years ago the standard recommendation to new parents worried about their child developing an allergy to peanuts, eggs or other common dietary allergens was to avoid those items like the plague until the child was two or three years old. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "How to Prevent Food Allergies," 24 July 2019 His first-inning struggles are perhaps the only plague on an otherwise remarkable season. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros bounce back, blast Angels," 18 July 2019 That issue of causation is a plague for studies beyond aggression, too. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "What do we actually know about the risks of screen time and digital media?," 17 Oct. 2018 As the game wore on, only a few humans with immunity to the plague remained, trying to resist the infection. Liz Teitz, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio camp uses science to ‘fight’ zombies," 21 July 2019 When plague recurred across Europe in the late 16th and 17th centuries, growth in lead emissions stalled as well. The Economist, "Arctic lead levels shed new light on Europe’s history," 10 July 2019 As medics ran tests to identify the deadly plague, even the health workers were afraid—nobody had seen this sickness before. Gaia Vince, Quartz, "How to survive in the world’s largest refugee camp," 8 June 2019 No building, not even the Eiffel Tower, is more representative of the spirit of Paris, of its beauty and its resilience over centuries of plague, war, protest, tragedy, and of so much joy. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "Notre-Dame Cathedral Symbolizes the Power of Architecture to Transform Lives," 16 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For Orlando City, the key against the TFC back line will be to break out of a finishing slump that has plagued the team during the past month. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City heads to Toronto for crucial Eastern Conference matchup," 11 Aug. 2019 The defiant protest anthem addresses the rampant gun violence that has plagued the U.S. for decades and was pegged to the fifth annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Nick Williams, Billboard, "Listen To Trans Artist-Activist Shea Diamond's Summer of Pride Mix Ahead of Billboard's Inaugural Pride Summit," 7 Aug. 2019 The 30-year-old was quick to credit the medical staff at Dortmund for helping him bounce back from the injury struggles which have plagued his career in recent years. SI.com, "Jurgen Klopp Named German Manager of the Year as Marco Reus Takes Player Award," 28 July 2019 Like its peers, Google has encouraged its consumer gaming and enterprise cloud groups to work together to ensure Stadia launches without the problems that have traditionally plagued online games. By Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Cloud Gaming Is Big Tech’s New Street Fight," 19 July 2019 Biden’s health care plan is yet another example of the kind of thinking that has plagued Democrats over the past several decades. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Biden’s Pitch to Voters: Dream Small," 19 July 2019 The state’s action came amid a massive measles outbreak that has plagued New Yorkers since last September. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Prominent anti-vaxxers lose New York court case over religious exemptions," 12 July 2019 Attendance is a problem that has plagued this council, which started a four-year term in January of 2018. Sharon Coolidge, Cincinnati.com, "Council breaks for summer, but records show some members were already taking days off," 7 July 2019 Corruption scandals plagued the elder Mr. Rosselló’s administration. Patricia Mazzei, New York Times, "Ricardo Rosselló, Puerto Rico’s Governor, Resigns After Protests," 24 July 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

14 Aug 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

Comments on plague

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