sick·​ness | \ ˈsik-nəs How to pronounce sickness (audio) \

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

After two quick outs, Taylor — who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh after being held out because of sickness, according to Roberts — fell behind 0-and-2. Jack Harris,, "Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks on five straight walks with two outs in ninth," 2 July 2019 And while the life expectancy gap differs by only a few years, 75.3 for blacks and 78.9 for whites as of 2016, research suggests that African Americans suffer more sickness. Jason Ashe, The Conversation, "Not all Americans have a fair path to a good death – racial disparities are real," 24 June 2019 Sweating sickness was confined almost exclusively to England during its outbreaks, ravaging the wealthy more often than the poor. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "The Cause of Prince Arthur Tudor's Death Remains a Medical Mystery," 13 May 2019 Strands of colorful prayer flags crisscross the pale face of the hollow, a holy location where Tibetans have long retreated to pray and heal from sickness. National Geographic, "Mysterious ancient human found on the ‘roof of the world’," 1 May 2019 Sea-Watch said Wednesday many of the 43 migrants still on board their boat are suffering from dehydration because of sea sickness, and other issues, the dpa news agency reported. Fox News, "German aid group urges action to help rescued migrants," 19 June 2019 The application claimed that the food pantry would use unemployment, sickness, and poverty as eligibility guidelines for food. Carol Robinson |,, "Alabama sheriff charged with defrauding church in jail food fund scheme," 14 June 2019 Convict-labor camps were known for their decrepit housing, rampant sickness, and cruel guards; punishments included locking prisoners in stocks and whippings. Siddhartha Mahanta, The New York Review of Books, "One Man’s Quest for a Memorial to Sugar Land’s Bitter History," 4 June 2019 Some friends and family may drop out of sight — at least for a while — not sure how to navigate your new world with a sickness or injury. Beth Kassab,, "Loneliness comes with caregiving territory. But it doesn't have to.," 14 June 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

7 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sickness

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

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More Definitions for sickness



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 How to pronounce sickness (audio) \

Kids Definition of sickness

1 : ill health : illness
2 : a specific disease He came down with an unknown sickness.


sick·​ness | \ ˈsik-nəs How to pronounce sickness (audio) \

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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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