- a deadly or virulent epidemic disease.
- bubonic plague.
- something that is considered harmful, destructive, or evil.
Origin of pestilence
Examples from the Web for pestilence
This notion of pestilence as a “great equalizer” has remained in vogue ever since plague pop culture began.Ebola Rages in West Africa, Reigniting Humanity’s Oldest Fear: The Plague
August 4, 2014
In dramatic lore their names are Death, Destruction, Pestilence, and Famine.New York City Is the Storied Football Capital of the USA
January 26, 2014
In the meantime, I do kind of hope he wins Iowa, so that he can spread some of that pestilence around the GOP.Ron Paul: Batty Old Reactionary for President
December 14, 2011
The coded “proofs” are everywhere: Floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and pestilence.Left Behind Author Tim LaHaye on the Rapture
May 19, 2011
Cats, the Times told us, are a pestilence akin to gypsy moths and kudzu.The War on Cats: Jonathan Franzen and Bird-Lovers Fight Back
March 21, 2011
The second power of vulgarity is obscenity, and this vice is like the pestilence.The Call of the Twentieth Century
David Starr Jordan
The chief of a nation that prefers the pestilence of despotism to the plague of anarchy.The Devil's Dictionary
How is it that some pestilence does not carry off all these poor people?
Yet it had sufficed that the nations should flock there for a pestilence to break out.
"Avoid it like a pestilence, monsieur," he answered promptly.Bardelys the Magnificent
- any epidemic outbreak of a deadly and highly infectious disease, such as the plague
- such a disease
- an evil influence or idea
Word Origin and History for pestilence
c.1300, from Old French pestilence "plague, epidemic" (12c.) and directly from Latin pestilentia "a plague, an unwholesome atmosphere," noun of condition from pestilentem (nominative pestilens) "infected, unwholesome, noxious," from pestis "deadly disease, plague" (see pest).
- A usually fatal epidemic disease, especially bubonic plague.
- An epidemic of such a disease.