Definition of blight in US English:



  • 1A plant disease, especially one caused by fungi such as mildews, rusts, and smuts.

    ‘the vines suffered blight and disease’
    ‘potato blight’
    • ‘Disease problems can include powdery mildew, Botrytis blight, aster yellows, leaf spots, viruses and foliar nematodes.’
    • ‘Botrytis blight, a fungal disease, causes reddish-brown leaf spots and is often the result of damp weather and/or evening watering.’
    • ‘The blight is actually a fungus called rhytisma acerinum and has infected trees all the way from Ottawa to Barrie to Windsor in the past several years.’
    • ‘Corn smut, leaf blights, stalk and ear rots, and virus diseases are not controlled by seed treatment fungicides.’
    • ‘Biological stress includes insects, viruses, wilts and blights, nematodes, diseases, susceptible varieties, grass types and animals.’
    • ‘Common onion diseases include damping off, botrytis leaf blight, downy mildew, and bacterial blight.’
    • ‘And, when a hardy variety of yam was introduced experimentally to Europe, to relieve the distress caused by the potato blights of the 1840s, it was grown successfully enough but failed to become popular.’
    • ‘The major corn diseases can be grouped into four categories: leaf blights, stalk rots, ear rots, and viral diseases.’
    • ‘Infections that cause seedling blights occur after the seed has germinated but before or just after emergence.’
    • ‘The major soybean diseases can be classified as root rots, stem rots, leaf blights, and seed diseases.’
    • ‘Approved for use on stone fruits and almonds to control brown rot, blossom and twig blight, and fruit brown rot.’
    • ‘Many different seed treatment materials will effectively prevent losses from Pythium seed rot and seedling blights.’
    • ‘Then in 1845 the harvest was wrecked by bad weather, and the first blights hit the Irish potato crop.’
    • ‘We have lost too many champions to Dutch elm disease, chestnut blight, and oak wilt.’
    • ‘Although not mentioned on the label, Benlate should also provide some level of control for anthracnose, cane blight, Septoria leaf spot, and raspberry leaf spot.’
    • ‘They devote an entire chapter to analyzing the problems associated with Jalisco's single-crop agriculture, which have led to devastating agave blights.’
    • ‘Corn seed is generally treated with fungicides to prevent seed decays and seedling blights.’
    • ‘The resulting monocultured crops are genetically limited and far more susceptible to insects, blights, diseases, and bad weather than are diverse crops.’
    • ‘As with other small fruits, Botrytis primarily affects ripening fruit, although under certain circumstances the fungus can cause stem blight as well.’
    • ‘The seed can be planted, provided it is treated with a fungicide that will control seedling blights.’
    disease, canker, infestation, fungus, mildew, mould, rot, decay
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    1. 1.1in singular A thing that spoils or damages something.
      ‘her remorse could be a blight on that happiness’
      • ‘In the next two decades, there will take place a total discrediting of these monstrous blights on the economic stability and prosperity of our civilization.’
      • ‘However, South Africa sees mercenaries as one of the blights on Africa.’
      • ‘Carlyle and Heworth have struggled this season with injury blights having a major impact on performance and significantly reducing numbers to the extent that the ‘A’ team was almost axed last month.’
      • ‘Other than an awareness of the blight at school headquarters, there is no evidence that these businessmen/reformers have a clue about what is really wrong with schooling.’
      • ‘There's David Childs, whom Filler credits with having created ‘some of the worst blights on the city's skyline in recent decades’.’
      • ‘Fascism is a gross deformity on the once awe inspiringly superlative face of this earth, and such blights so easily make otherwise beautiful spectacles the ugliest of things.’
      • ‘This city of sinners has been a blight upon the land for too long.’
      • ‘The whispers have been there for a while, that the Montreal Expos, who for a three-game series in September drew only 8,817 fans in total, and one of the Florida teams were financial disasters, blights on the game.’
      • ‘He has been credited with turning the country around after several severe economic blights and in recent years for spearheading the introduction of policies to boost the country's economic competitiveness.’
      • ‘There are other irritating blights of the Internet age, like spam.’
      • ‘Nowadays, anyone with access to graphics software can readily modify digital images to remove such blights as red eye in flash photos or transport themselves from a crowded room to a pristine beach.’
      • ‘Most of the anachronistic blights on the conscience of humanity like bear baiting, cock fighting, dog fighting have long been illegal.’
      • ‘The Redskins and Orioles have been ruined by the blights of modern sports: unsentimentality, overreliance on free agents, and obnoxious rich owners.’
      • ‘It was previously believed world-wide that those suffering from these more mysterious blights of the mind were possessed by the devil or a demon counterpart.’
      • ‘The request came at the half-way point in Manchester's pioneering campaign to rid itself of litter, graffiti and other environmental blights in just 100 days.’
      • ‘She refers to Aviemore as a diseased blight whose continuing existence diminishes Scotland.’
      • ‘From the house, the sea can just be glimpsed through a chink at the end of the valley, but its secluded location means no traffic noise and no views of cranes and advertising hoardings, the blights of the Costa.’
      • ‘Obvious blights on the Fascist record - the racial laws of 1938, the roundup of Jews in October 1943 - will be minimized or passed over in silence.’
      • ‘The video quality is very good, with no detracting edge enhancement or digital blights.’
      • ‘It is clear the politicians and health experts are struggling to find a strategy for coping with what is one of the great blights of modern life.’
      affliction, scourge, bane, curse, plague, menace, evil, misfortune, woe, calamity, trouble, ordeal, thorn in one's flesh, thorn in one's side, trial, tribulation, visitation, nuisance, pest, pollution, contamination, cancer, canker
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    2. 1.2 An ugly, neglected, or rundown condition of an urban area.
      ‘the depressing urban blight that lies to the south of the city’
      • ‘Urban blight is cumulative and self-reinforcing; blighted buildings cast a pall on land around them, discourage upkeep, and stifle renewal.’
      • ‘Pompeii is an hour's drive away: up over the Chiunzi pass, down through the urban blight of the Sarno plain, and there it is, the world's most famous stopped clock.’
      • ‘The spray-painted art was considered an urban blight by New York officials, who persecuted the young artists who created it.’
      • ‘Urban blight and flight is transformed into bustle, bounty, and bidding wars.’
      • ‘I feel duty bound to respond to the marchers who trooped through the capital the other day, bringing the wonderful sights and sounds, and the less wonderful smells, of the country to my patch of urban blight yesterday.’
      • ‘The rubbish has been accumulating at the site over the past few weeks and now has grown into dreadful blights on the roadside.’
      • ‘The Harlem of 1921 was already an urban blight, although only a few years separated these once fine homes from the mansions and townhouses of upper crust New York in those days.’
      • ‘The result is that intercultural and intergroup dialogue is always difficult, and widespread misunderstanding adds to the blight of the overall area.’
      • ‘But Pine-Parc was only one of several blights to hit the Milton-Parc neighbourhood (now better known as the McGill ghetto).’
      • ‘The setting becomes an urban blight, with the Romans as jackbooted thugs and the Jewish leaders dressing suspiciously like the aliens in Dark City, and Judas as a singing James Dean.’
      • ‘On a street pocked with dark storefronts, and in a neighborhood with its share of urban blight, the Beachland's neon sign is a beacon.’
      • ‘The barren South Bronx neighborhood that Ronald Reagan visited in 1980 to illustrate urban blight is now a thriving area, with, inevitably, a Starbucks.’
      • ‘Instead, it declined precipitously, becoming by the 1990s one of the country's poorest cities and a national symbol of urban blight.’
      • ‘However, the figures are still dwarfed by the huge scale of the problem of urban dereliction and blight in the area.’
      • ‘I was enchanted with Troy when I was growing up, but as an adult I thought I wanted no part of urban blight - until I realized that I couldn't afford the country.’
      • ‘A council spokesman said: ‘This is an area that was a blight on the landscape.’’
      • ‘A leafy neighbourhood of detached and semi-detached homes much removed from the urban blight of Scottish cities.’
      • ‘Even then, local governments didn't have carte blanche; they had to justify the taking as a way to mitigate ‘urban blight.’’
      • ‘Glasgow's high-rise social housing had become synonymous with urban blight and social deprivation.’
      • ‘Sullum makes a good case that urban blight should instead be addressed under the government's police power, which includes the authority to force property owners to eliminate nuisances.’


[with object]
  • 1Infect (plants or a planted area) with blight.

    ‘a peach tree blighted by leaf curl’
    • ‘Only when their crop of vines is blighted can they make Sauternes, one of the most glorious sweet wines in the world, which thrives on rot and fungal decay.’
    • ‘Earlier in the year, there were signs that maybe there was a recovery, but further losses of confidence around US accounting scandals have blighted the green shoots.’
    • ‘If there were witches, who could blight your crops, make you sterile, and turn you into a newt just by an incantation or two, then of course we should hunt them.’
    • ‘Rice prices are soaring because drought has blighted the Basmati crop.’
    • ‘Occasionally they would take to the air to kill people with their knifelike talons and blight the crops with poisonous excrement.’
    • ‘The canola crop, is blighted; there is a physical presence.’
    • ‘She could blight crops as easily as bless them, deliver at a difficult lambing and assist the occasional human birth for those too poor to have a more qualified attendant.’
    • ‘Entire ferns may be blighted by late summer in a wet year.’
    infect, wither, shrivel, blast, mildew, nip in the bud, kill, destroy
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    1. 1.1 Spoil, harm, or destroy.
      ‘the scandal blighted the careers of several leading politicians’
      ‘his father's blighted ambitions’
      • ‘For returning officers across East Lancashire, one of the primary goals of next month's national and county council elections is to restore faith in a process blighted by scandal in recent years.’
      • ‘Of this quintet of great Old Firm hopefuls, only Ross has made a starting appearance in a derby, and if this changes today it may be down to selection problems blighting both clubs more than anything else.’
      • ‘After another blast of the wretched conditions that have blighted this season's major championships, a motley crew of contenders have lined up at Hazeltine to exploit the uncertainty.’
      • ‘The people who are dumping waste on the roadsides are blighting the countryside and destroying the good image that the vast majority of people try to promote.’
      • ‘Your academic career is blighted, your good name is tarnished, you may find it hard to secure a place at any decent establishment elsewhere.’
      • ‘In 1934 Braddock's once successful boxing career was blighted by broken hands.’
      • ‘Klee was one of the many acclaimed modernist painters whose career was blighted by Nazi disapproval.’
      • ‘Age discrimination leads to erosion of talent, and blights employment opportunities for young and old alike, yet many companies continue to discard valuable knowledge and skills on the basis of age.’
      • ‘Police and trading standards officers will tackle alcohol-related violence which blights town centres in North Yorkshire Police's eastern division, which covers Scarborough and Ryedale.’
      • ‘Has cloning destroyed cities or blighted the lives of millions?’
      • ‘She confesses to being ‘a complete geek’ as a teenager, her red hair blighting her chances of blending into the woodwork each time she started a new school.’
      • ‘Panorama's allegations of corruption in horse racing are just another twist in a long line of scandals which have blighted the sport.’
      • ‘But Dudgeon's career at Oakwell was blighted by a bout of post-viral syndrome which prevented him from making a League appearance for the Tykes.’
      • ‘The mind-numbing natural disaster which has killed thousands and blighted the lives of millions in South Asia will not fade from our consciousness for some time yet.’
      • ‘Tomorrow, we will destroy the evil blighting our land!’
      • ‘Political bias - raw and wicked - blights American newspapers and TV news.’
      • ‘She rarely strays down the path of ponderous self-importance that often blights this genre.’
      • ‘His father's life was blighted by trauma he'd suffered during military service in the Second World War.’
      • ‘The former Italy striker, known as ‘The Divine Ponytail’ due to his hairstyle and Buddhist beliefs, has had a career blighted by injury.’
      • ‘Bruce Willis has revealed he had to see a therapist when he was younger - to help overcome a speech impediment that could have blighted his acting career..’
      ruin, wreck, spoil, disrupt, undo, mar, play havoc with, make a mess of, put an end to, end, bring to an end, put a stop to, prevent, frustrate, crush, quell, quash, dash, destroy, scotch, shatter, devastate, demolish, sabotage
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    2. 1.2usually as adjective blighted Subject (an urban area) to neglect.
      ‘plans to establish enterprise zones in blighted areas’
      • ‘One of the most blighted areas of West Hull is to be demolished after all - with the help of Government funding.’
      • ‘By the late '70s, the entire downtown was in a state of decline, and one especially blighted area was known for its abandoned buildings, rough bars, and prostitution.’
      • ‘The play area and its surrounding grass were blighted by broken glass, crushed cans, bottles and litter.’
      • ‘And the county council looks set to increase the budget to £210,000 this month in a bid to release extra cash for a year to areas blighted by crime and disorder.’
      • ‘They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.’
      • ‘Traditionally, municipalities have used eminent domain to make way for roads, schools, and hospitals, and to clear blighted areas.’
      • ‘It is not only unsightly but it blights the locality if let go unchecked.’
      • ‘There's victory in the air around San Diego's ballpark neighborhood, a 26-block section of the city's most blighted area.’
      • ‘Last night residents in Wakefield expressed relief and delight that action would be taken, saying the travellers had blighted the areas, causing noise and leaving behind piles of rubbish and hefty clean-up bills.’
      • ‘Three derelict houses bordering Waterford's historic city walls have blighted the area for too long, according to a frustrated resident and city alderman.’
      • ‘In the worst of times, urban areas are blighted, deserted with depressed economies.’
      • ‘The council is hoping that by spending any grants from the Elevate programme wisely it will be able to make a lasting difference to a town where property prices have slumped and run down housing blights large areas.’
      • ‘Promoted to shadow Secretary of State for International Development by Michael Howard, he has spent the past nine months jetting to blighted areas, to understand the lives of the underprivileged.’
      • ‘‘The Trashbasher works just as effectively with recycled waste and we are fully behind moves to reduce the amount we send to landfill as well as litter which blights our streets,’ said Mr Illingworth.’
      • ‘The 84-acre Brookfields Park site will be a mix of office and industrial space to create new business opportunities in an area once blighted by deprivation.’
      • ‘The latest Urban Renewal Scheme aims to build on progress achieved under previous schemes in combating the urban dereliction and decay which has blighted so many central areas of our towns and cities.’
      • ‘It is quite shocking that this is not going to solve the problems in areas blighted by empty houses.’
      • ‘For after demolition became the answer to the 50 properties whose neglected condition had blighted the North Road area of Blackburn for almost a decade, it was decided to turn what had been an eyesore into a site to please the eye.’
      • ‘This isn't for roads or public schools or to clear out blighted areas, but to turn over for private developers to turn people's homes into developments?’
      • ‘Furthermore, these blighted areas have high potential market values.’


Mid 16th century (denoting inflammation of the skin): of unknown origin.