Definition of disease in English:



  • 1A disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.

    ‘bacterial meningitis is quite a rare disease’
    [mass noun] ‘heart disease’
    • ‘The symptoms are not disease specific and the term does not suggest any cause for the symptoms.’
    • ‘The infection may be passed on without causing meningitis or any symptoms of the disease.’
    • ‘It may soon be used in humans to treat heart disease, diabetes, and other such diseases.’
    • ‘The value of animal research for finding new treatments for human diseases is a continuing debate.’
    • ‘Neck pain can be the result of many disorders or diseases in the structure of the neck.’
    • ‘Patients with chronic diseases like asthma and diabetes were not regularly monitored.’
    • ‘Smoking is a major contributor to many serious diseases, such as heart disease and lung cancer.’
    • ‘They do little research into tropical diseases yet these diseases affect millions.’
    • ‘Quitting smoking can help reduce your risk of gum disease and other oral diseases such as cancer of the mouth.’
    • ‘Certain diseases, such as diabetes, can cause a cataract to occur at an earlier age than normal.’
    • ‘Increasingly we will hear about patients with common diseases who have typical symptoms.’
    • ‘The threats of malaria and diarrhoeal diseases will only further increase with the onset of rains.’
    • ‘Lung transplants are performed when people have diseases such as emphysema and cystic fibrosis.’
    • ‘Cancer is second only to diseases of the heart and blood vessels as a cause of death.’
    • ‘They are relevant to food only insofar as they cause diseases in plants and animals.’
    • ‘Obesity is a major factor in illnesses such as heart disease and certain forms of diabetes.’
    • ‘The main cause of death in our cohort with diabetes was ischaemic heart disease.’
    • ‘Hearing impairment is when the hearing is affected by a disease, disorder or injury.’
    • ‘Testicular cancer is a rare disease in men caused by abnormal growth of cells of the testicle.’
    • ‘Volunteers who provided their skin cells to be cloned had diseases such as diabetes or spinal cord injury.’
    illness, sickness, ill health
    infection, ailment, malady, disorder, complaint, affliction, condition, indisposition, upset, problem, trouble, infirmity, disability, defect, abnormality
    pestilence, plague, cancer, canker, blight
    bug, virus
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A particular quality or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or group of people.
      ‘we are suffering from the British disease of self-deprecation’
      • ‘Are not sin, transgression and iniquity dread diseases that lead to spiritual death?’
      • ‘For some reason - whether through snobbery, ignorance, or the peculiarly British disease of self-deprecation - this valuable national treasure has been systematically trivialised and ridiculed over the years, to such an extent that today it remains almost unknown.’
      • ‘As the disease of greed and materialism spreads in our minds, so do the physical diseases, as our bodies struggle to eliminate the toxicity from the cocktail of chemicals consumed every day.’
      • ‘The blame lies within the disease of greed that has found too comfortable a home in the world of sports.’
      • ‘Rather, it is an argument against not leading a full life, of yielding to the national disease of sloth and laziness.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘lack of ease; inconvenience’): from Old French desaise lack of ease, from des- (expressing reversal) + aise ease.