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See also: Pestilence



From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin pestilentia (plague), from pestilens (infected, unwholesome, noxious); see pestilent.


pestilence (countable and uncountable, plural pestilences)

  1. 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.
    • 1826, Mary Shelley, The Last Man, part 2, chapter 2
      "Take it, Christian dogsǃ take the palaces, the gardens, the mosques, the abode of our fathers - take plague with them; pestilence is the enemy we fly; if she be your friend, hug her to your bosoms. The curse of Allah is on Stamboul, share ye her fateǃ"

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Old French[edit]


pestilence f (oblique plural pestilences, nominative singular pestilence, nominative plural pestilences)

  1. pestilence (epidemic disease)