One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Malaria or another illness involving fever and shivering.
- ‘‘We have just moved our camp out of the cypress swamp where the men were fast succumbing to the malaria ague and fevers at an astonishing rate,’ recorded Capt. Henry Ankey, 4th Iowa Infantry.’
- ‘Although he used the term ague, true malaria cannot necessarily be inferred because ague included any number of short-lived illnesses with chills and fever.’
- ‘Sydenham also advocated that specific remedies could be applied to each such disease, his favourite example being the prescription of Peruvian bark for intermittent fever or ague.’
- ‘There was plague, too, ague (probably a malarial infection), and various fevers.’
- ‘A list of patients admitted during the hospital's first years shows that reasons for admission included hysterick disorders, bloody flux, tertian ague, and melancholy.’
- 1.1count noun A fever or shivering fit.
- ‘He was elected MP for Hull in 1659 but, despite being moderately active in Parliament, was ineffective in the country party, though he continued to watch his constituents' interests until death from inappropriate treatment for an ague.’
- ‘It is good in all agues, for which it is given in decoction, or infusion, in water, ale, wine, or in the juice only; but its infusion in wine or ale (if disease will allow of malt liquors) is an easy, and as good a preparation as any.’
- ‘They were carried off by malaria, cholera, typhus, heat stroke, agues and tropical distempers, and drink, lots of drink.’
- ‘He is more self-indulgent about his agues, fevers, constipation, and other ills, and goes into detail about the remedies for same.’
- ‘The first three years of George II's reign, which began in 1727, were afflicted by successive waves of smallpox and influenza-like infections, imprecisely and variously described by contemporaries as agues and fevers.’
Middle English: via Old French from medieval Latin acuta (febris) ‘acute (fever)’.
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