AskDefine | Define pestilence

Dictionary Definition



1 any epidemic disease with a high death rate [syn: plague]
2 a pernicious evil influence

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Any epidemic disease that is highly contagious, infectious, virulent and devastating.
    • 1949 - Bruce Kiskaddon, George R. Stewart Earth Abides
      The snowshoe-rabbits build up through the years until they reach a climax when the seem to be everywhere; then with dramatic suddenness their pestilence falls upon them.


any highly contagious epidemic disease

Extensive Definition

A pestilence is any virulent and highly infectious disease that can cause an epidemic or even a pandemic. The word can also be used about parasites causing large scale sickness and death, such as Guinea worm.
Originally the word referred to the bubonic plague, which is called pestis in Latin.
It can also refer to:
In music
In comics
pestilence in Simple English: Pestilence

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Black Death, affliction, ambulatory plague, bane, black death, black plague, blight, bubonic plague, bugbear, burden, calamity, cancer, canker, cellulocutaneous plague, crushing burden, curse, death, defervescing plague, destruction, disease, epidemic, epiphytotic, epizootic, evil, glandular plague, grievance, harm, hemorrhagic plague, infliction, larval plague, murrain, nemesis, open wound, pandemia, pandemic, pest, pesthole, plague, plague spot, pneumonic plague, premonitory plague, running sore, scourge, septicemic plague, siderating plague, thorn, torment, tuberculosis, vexation, visitation, white plague, woe
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