sick·​ness | \ˈsik-nəs \

Definition of sickness 

1a : ill health : illness

b : a disordered, weakened, or unsound condition

2 : a specific disease

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Examples of sickness in a Sentence

He died from an unknown sickness. she was plagued by sickness most of her adult life

Recent Examples on the Web

Xofluza requires only one dose—compared with Tamiflu’s two pills a day for five days—for people ages 12 and up to help reduce symptoms and shorten the illness, as long as it’s taken in the first two days of sickness. Sara Gaynes Levy, Vogue, "The FDA Approves a New Flu Drug—And It’s a Game Changer," 26 Oct. 2018 Being a parent means dealing with a lot of sickness, and some illnesses are tougher to watch your child go through than others. Korin Miller, SELF, "HGTV's Tarek and Christina El Moussa's Son Was Hospitalized for Croup," 16 Oct. 2018 Meanwhile, former Islamic State officials have told The Wall Street Journal about a meeting with Mr. Baghdadi last year, in which the terrorist leader exposed rifts within leadership ranks over military setbacks and showed signs of sickness. Sune Engel Rasmussen, WSJ, "Islamic State Leader Emerges in Audio Message," 22 Aug. 2018 In that case, health officials confirmed that norovirus, also known as a really nasty kind of stomach flu, was the source of the sickness. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "Over 600 People Got Sick After Eating at Chipotle," 10 Aug. 2018 The bug is notorious for causing large outbreaks of sickness. NBC News, "What is norovirus? Symptoms to know and how to prevent infection," 8 May 2018 More than 40 deaths in Alabama have been attributed to the flu this season and officials with the Centers for Disease Control are warning the wave of sickness hasn't peaked yet. Leada Gore,, "Alabama-bride-to-be, 47, dies week after flu diagnosis," 27 Jan. 2018 This is literally prompt sickness derangement syndrome at a psychotic level. Fox News, "Reps. Jordan, Meadows react to Strzok-Page texts about leaks," 12 Sep. 2018 What’s the worst possible airplane sickness scenario? Rachel Becker, The Verge, "What happens on plane full of sick passengers? An aerospace medicine expert explains," 6 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sickness.' 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 sickness

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for sickness

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sickness

The first known use of sickness was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of sickness

: unhealthy condition of body or mind : the state of being sick

: a specific type of disease or illness

: the feeling you have in your stomach when you think you are going to vomit


sick·​ness | \ˈsik-nəs \

Kids Definition of sickness

1 : ill health : illness

2 : a specific disease He came down with an unknown sickness.


sick·​ness | \ˈsik-nəs \

Medical Definition of sickness 

1 : the condition of being ill : ill health

2 : a specific disease

3 : nausea

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More from Merriam-Webster on sickness

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sickness

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sickness

Spanish Central: Translation of sickness

Nglish: Translation of sickness for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sickness for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sickness

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


a knickknack or trinket

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