an epidemic disease that causes high mortality; pestilence.
an infectious, epidemic disease caused by a bacterium, Yersinia pestis, characterized by fever, chills, and prostration, transmitted to humans from rats by means of the bites of fleas. Compare bubonic plague, pneumonic plague, septicemic plague.
any widespread affliction, calamity, or evil, especially one regarded as a direct punishment by God: a plague of war and desolation.
any cause of trouble, annoyance, or vexation: Uninvited guests are a plague.
verb (used with object), plagued, plaguing.
to trouble, annoy, or torment in any manner: The question of his future plagues him with doubt.
to annoy, bother, or pester: Ants plagued the picnickers.
to smite with a plague, pestilence, death, etc.; scourge: those whom the gods had plagued.
to infect with a plague; cause an epidemic in or among: diseases that still plague the natives of Ethiopia.
to afflict with any evil: He was plagued by allergies all his life.

1350–1400; Middle English plage < Latin plāga stripe, wound, Late Latin: pestilence

plaguer, noun
antiplague, noun, adjective
unplagued, adjective

plague, plaque.

4. nuisance, bother, torment. 6. harass, vex, harry, hector, fret, worry, badger, irritate, disturb. See bother. Unabridged

Plague, The

French La Peste. a novel (1947) by Albert Camus. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
plague (pleɪɡ)
1.  any widespread and usually highly contagious disease with a high fatality rate
2.  an infectious disease of rodents, esp rats, transmitted to man by the bite of the rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopis)
3.  See bubonic plague
4.  something that afflicts or harasses
5.  informal an annoyance or nuisance
6.  a pestilence, affliction, or calamity on a large scale, esp when regarded as sent by God
7.  archaic used to express annoyance, disgust, etc: a plague on you
vb , plagues, plaguing, plagued
8.  to afflict or harass
9.  to bring down a plague upon
10.  informal to annoy
[C14: from Late Latin plāga pestilence, from Latin: a blow; related to Greek plēgē a stroke, Latin plangere to strike]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1382, "affliction, calamity, evil, scourge," also "malignant disease," from M.Fr. plague, from L.L. plaga, used in Vulgate for "pestilence," from L. plaga "stroke, wound," probably from root of plangere "to strike, lament (by beating the breast)," from or cognate with Gk. (Doric) plaga "blow," from PIE
*plag- "hit" (cf. O.E. flocan "to strike, beat," Goth. flokan "to bewail," Ger. fluchen, O.Fris. floka "to curse"). O.Ir. plag (gen. plaige) "plague, pestilence" is from L. Specifically in ref. to "bubonic plague" from 1601. The verb is from 1481; in the sense of "bother, annoy" it is first recorded 1594. Plaguey "vexatious" is attested from 1615.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

plague (plāg)
A highly infectious, usually fatal, epidemic disease, especially bubonic plague.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
plague   (plāg)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. Any of various highly infectious, usually fatal epidemic diseases.

  2. An often fatal disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, transmitted to humans usually by fleas that have bitten infected rats or other rodents. ◇ Bubonic plague, the most common type, is characterized by the tender, swollen lymph nodes called buboes, fever, clotting abnormalities of the blood, and tissue necrosis. An epidemic of bubonic plague in fourteenth-century Europe and Asia was known as the Black Death.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
plague [(playg)]

A highly contagious disease, such as bubonic plague, that spreads quickly throughout a population and causes widespread sickness and death.

Note: The term is also used to refer to widespread outbreaks of many kinds, such as a “plague of locusts.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Bible Dictionary

Plague definition

a "stroke" of affliction, or disease. Sent as a divine chastisement (Num. 11:33; 14:37; 16:46-49; 2 Sam. 24:21). Painful afflictions or diseases, (Lev. 13:3, 5, 30; 1 Kings 8:37), or severe calamity (Mark 5:29; Luke 7:21), or the judgment of God, so called (Ex. 9:14). Plagues of Egypt were ten in number. (1.) The river Nile was turned into blood, and the fish died, and the river stank, so that the Egyptians loathed to drink of the river (Ex. 7:14-25). (2.) The plague of frogs (Ex. 8:1-15). (3.) The plague of lice (Heb. kinnim, properly gnats or mosquitoes; comp. Ps. 78:45; 105:31), "out of the dust of the land" (Ex. 8:16-19). (4.) The plague of flies (Heb. arob, rendered by the LXX. dog-fly), Ex. 8:21-24. (5.) The murrain (Ex.9:1-7), or epidemic pestilence which carried off vast numbers of cattle in the field. Warning was given of its coming. (6.) The sixth plague, of "boils and blains," like the third, was sent without warning (Ex.9:8-12). It is called (Deut. 28:27) "the botch of Egypt," A.V.; but in R.V., "the boil of Egypt." "The magicians could not stand before Moses" because of it. (7.) The plague of hail, with fire and thunder (Ex. 9:13-33). Warning was given of its coming. (Comp. Ps. 18:13; 105:32, 33). (8.) The plague of locusts, which covered the whole face of the earth, so that the land was darkened with them (Ex. 10:12-15). The Hebrew name of this insect, _arbeh_, points to the "multitudinous" character of this visitation. Warning was given before this plague came. (9.) After a short interval the plague of darkness succeeded that of the locusts; and it came without any special warning (Ex. 10:21-29). The darkness covered "all the land of Egypt" to such an extent that "they saw not one another." It did not, however, extend to the land of Goshen. (10.) The last and most fearful of these plagues was the death of the first-born of man and of beast (Ex. 11:4, 5; 12:29,30). The exact time of the visitation was announced, "about midnight", which would add to the horror of the infliction. Its extent also is specified, from the first-born of the king to the first-born of the humblest slave, and all the first-born of beasts. But from this plague the Hebrews were completely exempted. The Lord "put a difference" between them and the Egyptians. (See PASSOVER.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
It's a problem that plagues audio on tablets as a whole.
It's the biggest demon behind that pound-a-year weight creep that plagues many
  of us, a major diet study found.
But illegal fishing and unsustainable harvesting still plagues the industry.
And that, in the end, is the problem that plagues all these books.
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