avoid like the plague

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Commonly attributed to similar phrases in Latin used by the priest and theologian Saint Jerome (c. 347–420) in his letters, for example, “His igitur quasi quibusdam pestibus exterminatis veniamus ad eos, []” (“Avoiding these [the Remnuoth, a class of monks in Egypt] then as though they were the plague, []”),[1] and “[N]egotiatorem clericum et ex inope divitem et ex ignobili gloriosum quasi quandem pestem fuge” (“Avoid, as you would the plague, a clergyman who is also a man of business, one who has risen from poverty to wealth, from obscurity to a high position”).[2]

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

avoid like the plague (third-person singular simple present avoids like the plague, present participle avoiding like the plague, simple past and past participle avoided like the plague)

  1. (simile) To evade or shun, if at all possible.
    Cliché should be avoided like the plague.
    I’m one of those people who avoids confrontations like the plague.

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jerome; F[rederick] A[dam] Wright, transl. (1933), “Letter XXII: To Eustochium: The Virgin’s Profession. Written A.D. 384”, in Select Letters of St. Jerome: With an English Translation (Loeb Classical Library; 262), London: William Heinemann Ltd.; New York, N.Y.: G. P. Putnam's Sons, OCLC 493074652, pages 136–137.
  2. ^ Jerome; F[rederick] A[dam] Wright, transl. (1933), “Letter LII: To Nepotian: A Clergyman’s Duties”, in Select Letters of St. Jerome: With an English Translation (Loeb Classical Library; 262), London: William Heinemann Ltd.; New York, N.Y.: G. P. Putnam's Sons, OCLC 493074652, pages 200–201; Christine Ammer (2013), “avoid like the plague”, in The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, 2nd edition, Boston, Mass.; New York, N.Y.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, →ISBN, page 24, column 1.