Definition of disease in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪˈziːz/


1A disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury: bacterial meningitis is quite a rare disease [mass noun]: heart disease
More example sentences
  • It may soon be used in humans to treat heart disease, diabetes, and other such diseases.
  • Hearing impairment is when the hearing is affected by a disease, disorder or injury.
  • The threats of malaria and diarrhoeal diseases will only further increase with the onset of rains.
pestilence, plague, cancer, canker, blight
informal bug, virus
British informal lurgy
Australian informal wog
dated contagion
1.1A particular quality or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or group of people: we are suffering from the British disease of self-deprecation
More example sentences
  • Are not sin, transgression and iniquity dread diseases that lead to spiritual death?
  • The blame lies within the disease of greed that has found too comfortable a home in the world of sports.
  • As the disease of greed and materialism spreads in our minds, so do the physical diseases, as our bodies struggle to eliminate the toxicity from the cocktail of chemicals consumed every day.


Middle English (in the sense 'lack of ease; inconvenience'): from Old French desaise 'lack of ease', from des- (expressing reversal) + aise 'ease'.

  • At first disease was ‘lack of ease, inconvenience, trouble’, the meaning of the word in French, from which English adopted it in the early Middle Ages. The ‘lack of ease’ soon became associated with illness, and the original sense became obsolete.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dis|ease

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