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

In a conversation with, Hans W. Paerl — a professor of marine and environmental sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill — explains what the algae is, as well as the risk of human sickness or death after exposure. Jen Juneau,, "Is Blue-Green Algae Toxic for Children? What to Know," 16 Aug. 2019 Health officials plan to launch a public awareness campaign to identify more patients at an early stage of sickness, and to take steps to boost the number of available organs. Bloomberg News,, "Less dialysis, more kidney transplants: Trump overhauls chronic care system," 10 July 2019 Unfortunately for her and many others, the chances of losing income due to an accident or sickness are much greater than dying during one’s working years. WSJ, "Disability Insurance Can Be a Real Lifesaver," 25 June 2019 An administrative law judge for the Industrial Commission said that Aguirre couldn't prove his sickness was work-related and denied his claim for worker's compensation. Joshua Bowling, azcentral, "Court gives Goodyear firefighter with cancer 2nd chance to get workers' compensation," 16 Aug. 2019 This is not a man who was willing to face his (alleged) crimes and face his sickness. August Brown,, "‘Surviving R. Kelly’ executive producer dream hampton on the Emmy nod and justice," 18 July 2019 Well, how ya’ doin’?’ He’s never been real up-front with what’s happened to him, what his illness is or his sickness. Brian Chasnoff,, "‘Crazy’ traffic stops cited in move to boot constable," 18 June 2019 The sickness, which typically affects the salivary glands, is transmissible for up to three days before symptoms appear, according to state health officials. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Suspected mumps outbreak hits Harris County Jail," 11 June 2019 Ice cream is probably my favorite food indulgence, a delight that can be consumed at any time of day, in sickness or in health, and makes every bad day better. Carrie Knauer,, "Carrie’s Kitchen: Ice cream recipes designed to make every day better," 1 Aug. 2019

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

15 Sep 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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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