Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.

Black Death

a form of bubonic plague that spread over Europe in the 14th century and killed an estimated quarter of the population.
Origin of Black Death
First recorded in 1815-25 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for Black Death
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Simeon died in 1353 of the "Black Death," a pestilence which was imported from Asia.

    The Story of Russia R. Van Bergen, M.A.
  • It broke out again in 1349, in connection with the Black Death.


    William Graham Sumner
  • The next year was the year of the great plague or Black Death.

    New Italian sketches John Addington Symonds
  • The Black Death, or the cholera, for instance, could not "run in a family."

    Preventable Diseases Woods Hutchinson
  • In 1393, but that was after the Black Death, there appear to have been some twenty-seven, and in 1404 but thirty.

British Dictionary definitions for Black Death

Black Death

the Black Death, a form of bubonic plague pandemic in Europe and Asia during the 14th century, when it killed over 50 million people See bubonic plague
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for Black Death

"bubonic/pneumonic plague epidemic of 1347-51 in Europe," a modern name, introduced in English 1823 by Elizabeth Penrose's history of England. The contemporary name for it in most languages was something like "the great dying" or simply "the plague" (or, looking back after its return, "the first pestilence"). The term "Black Death" first turns up in 16c. Swedish and Danish chronicles, but in reference to a visitation of plague in Iceland in 1402-3 that carried off much of the population there (which had been spared in the earlier outbreak). The exact sense of "black" is not clear. The term appears in English translations of the Scandinavian works from 1750s. It was picked up in German c.1770 and applied to the earlier outbreak, and taken from there into English in that sense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Black Death in Medicine

Black Death n.
A form of bubonic plague, caused by Yersinia pestis, that was pandemic throughout Europe and much of Asia in the 14th century.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Black Death in Science
Black Death  
A widespread epidemic of bubonic plague that occurred in several outbreaks between 1347 and 1400. It originated in Asia and then swept through Europe, where it killed about a third of the population. See more at bubonic plague.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Black Death in Culture

Black Death definition

A disease that killed nearly half the people of western Europe in the fourteenth century. It was a form of the bubonic plague.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for black death

Difficulty index for Black Death

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for Black

Scrabble Words With Friends