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[blahyt] /blaɪt/
Plant Pathology.
  1. the rapid and extensive discoloration, wilting, and death of plant tissues.
  2. a disease so characterized.
any cause of impairment, destruction, ruin, or frustration:
Extravagance was the blight of the family.
the state or result of being blighted or deteriorated; dilapidation; decay:
urban blight.
verb (used with object)
to cause to wither or decay; blast:
Frost blighted the crops.
to destroy; ruin; frustrate:
Illness blighted his hopes.
verb (used without object)
to suffer blight.
Origin of blight
First recorded in 1605-15; of uncertain origin
Related forms
blightingly, adverb
unblighted, adjective
unblightedly, adverb
unblightedness, noun
2. curse, plague, scourge, bane. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for blight
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • An excellent grade of coffee is produced, and it does not appear that as yet any blight has perceptibly affected the shrubs.

    Porto Rico Arthur D. Hall
  • This was the day that Lydia's summer happiness felt the touch of blight.

    Country Neighbors Alice Brown
  • Meantime a blight had fallen on the earth, and a whole people's food, in one night, perished.

    The Felon's Track Michael Doheny
  • He respectfully mentioned the nature of the blight, and suggested a remedy.

    Antony Gray,--Gardener Leslie Moore
  • There was the suffering that comes from the blight of a sweet hope, from the rude dispossession of a good long withheld.

  • Now my sun has reached its meridian, yet she is still there, a blight upon the land.

    The Fugitives R.M. Ballantyne
  • No epidemic or disease came to blight the lives of our caterpillars; nor did annoyances of any sort interrupt their spinning.

    The Story of Silk Sara Ware Bassett
  • But in the reign of Queen Elizabeth a blight fell on the Bishops.

    Holborn and Bloomsbury Sir Walter Besant
British Dictionary definitions for blight


any plant disease characterized by withering and shrivelling without rotting See also potato blight
any factor, such as bacterial attack or air pollution, that causes the symptoms of blight in plants
a person or thing that mars or prevents growth, improvement, or prosperity
an ugly urban district
the state or condition of being blighted or spoilt
to cause or suffer a blight
(transitive) to frustrate or disappoint
(transitive) to spoil; destroy
Word Origin
C17: perhaps related to Old English blǣce rash; compare bleach
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
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Word Origin and History for blight

1610s, origin obscure; according to OED it emerged into literary speech from the talk of gardeners and farmers, perhaps ultimately from Old English blæce, blæcðu, a scrofulous skin condition and/or from Old Norse blikna "become pale." Used in a general way of agricultural diseases, sometimes with suggestion of "invisible baleful influence;" hence figurative sense of "anything which withers hopes or prospects or checks prosperity" (1828). Cf. slang blighter. Urban blight attested by 1935.


"afflict with blight," 1660s (implied in blighted), from blight (n.). Figurative use by 1712. Related: Blighted; blighting.


"afflict with blight," 1660s (implied in blighted), from blight (n.). Figurative use by 1712. Related: Blighted; blighting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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blight in Science
  1. Any of numerous plant diseases that cause leaves, stems, fruits, and tissues to wither and die. Rust, mildew, and smut are blights.

  2. The bacterium, fungus, or virus that causes such a disease.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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