Definition of measles in English:


plural noun

  • 1treated as singular An infectious viral disease causing fever and a red rash, typically occurring in childhood.

    ‘women queue to have their children immunized against measles’
    ‘a severe case of the measles’
    • ‘These include measles and some foodborne infections.’
    • ‘She had her rubella vaccination when she was fourteen, but when she was sixteen, she still caught the measles.’
    • ‘I heard today that some of the men have come down with the measles and some have died from it.’
    • ‘As a virulent strain of the measles spreads among the students, the town doctor puts Plumfield under quarantine.’
    • ‘Maybe I should come down with a case of the measles before Friday.’
    • ‘But the youngest died of measles at a very young age.’
    • ‘In Africa, however, measles is still killing children.’
    • ‘Higher temperatures will mean increased incidences of vector-borne diseases like malaria, dengue and measles.’
    • ‘Children often died of measles or diphtheria in the late 1800s.’
    • ‘Anne tells Kitty that she is worried about Daddy, who has a fever and a rash, which looks like measles.’
    • ‘But here you are and here I am, and you've got the measles.’
    • ‘I'm filling in for my cousin who has the measles.’
    • ‘The immunization level for specific diseases such as polio and measles now surpasses 90 percent.’
    • ‘Johnny would probably get pneumonia, or a childhood disease such as whooping cough or measles, and die.’
    • ‘The fact that we didn't see an outbreak of epidemics and disease like cholera or measles was partly due to the fact that people gave funds quickly.’
    • ‘Thousands of the Aztecs died from ordinary diseases - measles and the flu.’
    • ‘Native Americans used the leathery leaves in a healing tea for measles.’
    • ‘The serum was also used in vaccines against measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria and whooping cough until as late as 1993.’
    • ‘Sven Wilson finds that soldiers who became ill with measles or respiratory illness while serving were likely to suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in their old age.’
    • ‘Because of vaccine shortages, such diseases as whooping cough, measles, mumps, and even polio (which had been all but eradicated) have also increased.’
    1. 1.1 A disease of pigs and other animals caused by the larvae of the human tapeworm.


Middle English maseles, probably from Middle Dutch masel ‘pustule’ (compare with modern Dutch mazelen ‘measles’). The spelling change was due to association with Middle English mesel ‘leprous, leprosy’.