Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

pestilence

[pes-tl-uh ns]
See more synonyms for pestilence on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a deadly or virulent epidemic disease.
  2. bubonic plague.
  3. something that is considered harmful, destructive, or evil.
Show More

Origin of pestilence

1275–1325; Middle English < Middle French < Latin pestilentia. See pestilent, -ence
Related formsan·ti·pes·ti·lence, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

scourge, sickness, contagion, disease, infection, virus, plague, rash, outbreak, endemic

Examples from the Web for pestilence

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples


British Dictionary definitions for pestilence

pestilence

noun
    1. any epidemic outbreak of a deadly and highly infectious disease, such as the plague
    2. such a disease
  1. an evil influence or idea
Show More
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 pestilence

n.

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).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pestilence in Medicine

pestilence

(pĕstə-ləns)
n.
  1. A usually fatal epidemic disease, especially bubonic plague.
  2. An epidemic of such a disease.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.