• synonyms


  1. Veterinary Pathology. any of various diseases of cattle, as anthrax, foot-and-mouth disease, and Texas fever.
  2. Obsolete. a plague or pestilence.
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Origin of murrain

1300–50; Middle English moreine, moryne < Middle French morine a plague, equivalent to mor(ir) to die (≪ Latin morī) + -ine -ine2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for murrain

Historical Examples of murrain

  • May the murrain strike me if I can call to mind aught about her.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • When your sheep died of the murrain you hung up their hides to dry—in the schoolhouse.

    The Day of Wrath

    Maurus Jkai

  • Some of them fell a prey to wild beasts—some died of the murrain.

    The Bush Boys

    Captain Mayne Reid

  • There would have been above 3,000, had it not been for the murrain that was here.'

  • Disease had attacked the inhabitants of the hamlet, a murrain their cattle.

British Dictionary definitions for murrain


noun archaic
  1. any plaguelike disease in cattle
  2. a plague
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Word Origin for murrain

C14: from Old French morine, from morir to die, from Latin morī
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 murrain


"cattle plague," early 14c., from Anglo-French moryn, Old French moraine "pestilence" (12c.), probably from mourir "to die," from Latin mori (see mortal (adj.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper