From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin pestilentia (“plague”), from pestilens (“infected, unwholesome, noxious”); see pestilent.
pestilence (plural pestilences)
- Any epidemic disease that is highly contagious, infectious, virulent and devastating.
- 1949 - Bruce Kiskaddon, George R. Stewart, Earth Abides
- The snowshoe-rabbits build up through the years until they reach a climax when they seem to be everywhere; then with dramatic suddenness their pestilence falls upon them.
any highly contagious epidemic disease