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See also: dis-ease


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From Middle English disese, from Anglo-Norman desese, disaise, from Old French desaise, from des- + aise. Equivalent to dis- +‎ ease. Displaced native Middle English adle, audle (disease) (from Old English ādl (disease, sickness), see adle), Middle English cothe, coathe (disease) (from Old English coþu (disease), see coath).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪˈziːz/
  • (US) enPR: dĭ-zēzʹ, IPA(key): /dɪˈziz/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːz


disease (countable and uncountable, plural diseases)

  1. (pathology) An abnormal condition of a human, animal or plant that causes discomfort or dysfunction; distinct from injury insofar as the latter is usually instantaneously acquired.
    The tomato plants had some kind of disease that left their leaves splotchy and fruit withered.
    • c. 1599–1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene iii]:
      Diseases desperate grown, / By desperate appliances are relieved.
    • (Can we date this quote by James Madison and provide title, author's full name, and other details?), Jr.
      The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public counsels have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 5, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Of all the queer collections of humans outside of a crazy asylum, it seemed to me this sanitarium was the cup winner. […] When you're well enough off so's you don't have to fret about anything but your heft or your diseases you begin to get queer, I suppose.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, in A Cuckoo in the Nest[1]:
      “[…] the awfully hearty sort of Christmas cards that people do send to other people that they don't know at all well. You know. The kind that have mottoes [] . And then, when you see [the senders], you probably find that they are the most melancholy old folk with malignant diseases. […]”
    • 2012 March 1, William E. Carter, Merri Sue Carter, “The British Longitude Act Reconsidered”, in American Scientist, volume 100, number 2, page 87:
      Conditions were horrendous aboard most British naval vessels at the time. Scurvy and other diseases ran rampant, killing more seamen each year than all other causes combined, including combat.
  2. (by extension) Any abnormal or harmful condition, as of society, people's attitudes, way of living etc.
    • (Can we date this quote?), The Urantia Book, Paper 134:6.7
      War is not man's great and terrible disease; war is a symptom, a result. The real disease is the virus of national sovereignty.
  3. Lack of ease; uneasiness; trouble; vexation; disquiet.


Derived terms[edit]



disease (third-person singular simple present diseases, present participle diseasing, simple past and past participle diseased)

  1. (obsolete) To cause unease; to annoy, irritate.
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Luke VIII:
      Whyll he yett speake, there cam won from the rulers off the synagogis housse, which sayde to hym: Thy doughter is deed, disease not the master.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.ii:
      mote he soft himselfe appease, / And fairely fare on foot, how euer loth; / His double burden did him sore disease.
  2. To infect with a disease.