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From Middle English moreyn, from Middle French morine, and Anglo-Norman mourine, moreyn, from Medieval Latin morticinium, ultimately from a form of Latin morior (to die).





murrain (countable and uncountable, plural murrains)

  1. (archaic) Plague, infectious disease, pestilence.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, “Book III, Canto III”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC:
      For heauen it selfe shall their successe enuy, / And them with plagues and murrins pestilent / Consume, till all their warlike puissaunce be spent.
    • 1599 (first performance; published 1600), Thomas Dekker, “The Shomakers Holiday. Or The Gentle Craft. []”, in The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker [], volume I, London: John Pearson [], published 1873, →OCLC, Act IV, scene ii, page 54:
      [Raph.] By this old shooe I shall find out my wife.
      Firke. Ha, ha olde shooe that wert new, how a murren came this ague fit of foolishnesse upon thee!
  2. (archaic) Curse.
    • 1802, Joanna Baillie, A Series of Plays on the Passions of the Mind, III, The Second Marriage: Act 2, Scene 5:
      Nurse. Let him take what he gets, an' a murrain to him! he had no business to bring her here to torment us all, after the dear lady we have lost.
    • 1825 June 22, [Walter Scott], chapter VII, in Tales of the Crusaders. [], volume II (The Betrothed), Edinburgh: [] [James Ballantyne and Co.] for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co., →OCLC, page 187:
      A murrain on thy voice! it is enough to fray every hawk from the perch.
    • 1930, Ogden Nash, Lines to Be Mumbled at Ovington's:
      A murrain on you, Reverend Apse/I hope you get caught in a vicious moral lapse.
    • 1935, Ezra Pound, Canto XLV:
      Usura is a murrain, usura blunteth the needle in the maid’s hand and stoppeth the spinner’s cunning.
  3. (veterinary medicine, chiefly historical) Any of several highly infectious diseases of cattle, such as anthrax, or a particular epizootic thereof.

Derived terms