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See more synonyms for ague on Thesaurus.com
  1. Pathology. a malarial fever characterized by regularly returning paroxysms, marked by successive cold, hot, and sweating fits.
  2. a fit of fever or shivering or shaking chills, accompanied by malaise, pains in the bones and joints, etc.; chill.
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Origin of ague

1250–1300; Middle English < Middle French, short for fievre ague acute fever < Latin febris acūta
Related formsa·gue·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for ague

Historical Examples

  • "Yes, and catch their deaths of fever and ague," said Mrs. Bartlett.

    In the Midst of Alarms

    Robert Barr

  • I was but a fortnight in the hospital, the disease being only the fever and ague.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Fortunately for me, there were two cases of fever and ague in the ship.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Clearly his fears had been realised, and he had had an attack of the Persian ague.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • He opened his eyes to find the lad shivering as with an ague.

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for ague


  1. a fever with successive stages of fever and chills esp when caused by malaria
  2. a fit of shivering
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Derived Formsaguish, adjective

Word Origin

C14: from Old French (fievre) ague acute fever; see acute
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 ague


"malarial fever," c.1300, from Old French ague "an acute fever," from Medieval Latin (febris) acuta "sharp (fever)," fem. of acutus "sharp" (see acute).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ague in Medicine


  1. A febrile condition, especially associated with malaria, characterized by alternating periods of chills, fever, and sweating.
  2. A chill or fit of shivering.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.