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Black Death

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noun
  1. a form of bubonic plague that spread over Europe in the 14th century and killed an estimated quarter of the population.
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Origin of Black Death

First recorded in 1815–25
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for black death

Black Death

noun
  1. the Black Death a form of bubonic plague pandemic in Europe and Asia during the 14th century, when it killed over 50 million peopleSee bubonic plague
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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

Word Origin and History for black death

Black Death

n.

"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

black death in Medicine

Black Death

n.
  1. A form of bubonic plague, caused by Yersinia pestis, that was pandemic throughout Europe and much of Asia in the 14th century.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

black death in Science

Black Death

  1. An epidemic of plague, especially its bubonic form, that occurred in outbreaks between 1347 and 1400. It originated in Asia and then swept through Europe, where it killed about a third of the population.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

black death in Culture

Black Death

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

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