AskDefine | Define plague

Dictionary Definition



1 a serious (sometimes fatal) infection of rodents caused by Yersinia pestis and accidentally transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected rat flea (especially bubonic plague)
2 any epidemic disease with a high death rate [syn: pestilence]
3 a swarm of insects that attack plants; "a plague of grasshoppers" [syn: infestation]
4 any large scale calamity (especially when thought to be sent by God)
5 an annoyance; "those children are a damn plague"


1 cause to suffer a blight; "Too much rain may blight the garden with mold" [syn: blight]
2 annoy continually or chronically; "He is known to harry his staff when he is overworked"; "This man harasses his female co-workers" [syn: harass, hassle, harry, chivy, chivvy, chevy, chevvy, beset, molest, provoke]

User Contributed Dictionary



From plage < plaga. Cognate with Dutch plaag, German Plage, Swedish plåga, French plaie and Polish plaga.


  • , /pleɪɡ/, /pleIg/
  • Rhymes with: -eɪɡ


  1. A widespread affliction, calamity, or destructive influx especially when seen as divine retribution.
    A plague of locusts
  2. The disease "plague", caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and mostly known by its variant form bubonic plague.
  3. An epidemic or pandemic caused by any pestilence, but specifically by the disease "plague".


specific disease "plague"
  • Czech: mor
  • French: peste
  • Polish: dżuma
  • trreq Romanian
  • Russian: мор
  • Slovene: kuga
Translations to be categorised


  1. To harass, pester or annoy someone persistently or incessantly.
    Wikis are often plagued by vandalism
  2. To afflict someone with a disease or calamity.

Extensive Definition

Plague may refer to:
In medicine:
In history:
  • Black Death, also known as The Black Plague: the Eurasian pandemic thought to have been caused by bubonic plague, beginning in the 14th century with repeated outbreaks until the 18th century
  • Plague of Justinian, a pandemic in 541–542 AD in the Byzantine Empire, considered to have caused or contributed to the Black Death
  • Antonine Plague, an ancient pandemic in 165–189 AD brought back to the Roman Empire by troops returning from campaigns in the Near East
  • Third Pandemic, a major plague pandemic that began in China in 1855, spread via trade routes around the world. This episode was considered active until 1959, when worldwide casualties dropped to 200 per year.
  • List of historical plagues
In art and literature:
In popular culture:
plague in Welsh: Pla
plague in French: Plague

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

afflict, affliction, aggravate, aggravation, ail, ambulatory plague, anguish, annoy, annoyance, apply pressure, badger, bait, bane, be at, be the matter, bedevil, beleaguer, beset, besiege, bevy, bitch, black death, black plague, blandish, blight, bother, bristle, brown off, bubonic plague, bug, bugbear, bullyrag, burden, burn up, buttonhole, cajole, calamity, cellulocutaneous plague, chafe, charm, chevy, chivy, cloud, coax, complicate matters, concern, covey, crawl with, creep with, crushing burden, curse, death, defervescing plague, destruction, devil, discommode, discompose, disease, distemper, distress, disturb, dog, drag, dun, epidemic, epiphytotic, epizootic, evil, exasperate, exercise, exert pressure, fash, flight, flock, fret, gaggle, gall, get, glandular plague, gnaw, grievance, gripe, harass, harm, harry, hassle, haunt, headache, heckle, hector, hemorrhagic plague, hive, hound, importune, inconvenience, infest, infestation, infliction, invade, invasion, irk, irritate, irritation, larval plague, lousiness, miff, molest, murmuration, murrain, nag, nag at, needle, nemesis, nettle, nudzh, nuisance, open wound, overrun, overrunning, overspread, overspreading, overswarm, overswarming, pandemia, pandemic, peeve, perplex, persecute, perturb, pest, pester, pesthole, pestilence, pick on, pique, plague spot, pluck the beard, ply, pneumonic plague, pother, premonitory plague, press, pressure, provoke, push, put out, put to it, puzzle, ravage, ride, rile, roil, ruffle, running sore, scourge, septicemic plague, siderating plague, skein, spring, swarm, swarm with, swarming, tease, teeming, thorn, torment, torture, trouble, try the patience, tuberculosis, tweak the nose, urge, vex, vexation, visitation, watch, wheedle, white plague, woe, work on, worry
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