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[il-nis] /ˈɪl nɪs/
unhealthy condition; poor health; indisposition; sickness.
Obsolete, wickedness.
Origin of illness
1490-1500; ill + -ness
1. ailment, affliction, infirmity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for illness
  • Yet even when the disease is caused by the same mutation, it can provoke dramatically different degrees of illness.
  • Across the country, people with severe mental illness live what appear to be normal, successful lives.
  • Advanced dementia has often been treated as an amalgamation of symptoms in the aging, rather than a deadly illness in itself.
  • The evidence is mounting: mental illness might be caused by microbes.
  • Severe, chronic mental illness was viewed as relatively rare.
  • The study of human illness depends on bloated rodents.
  • Most suffer from drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness or both.
  • So sometimes the treatment was worse than the original illness.
  • Also features extensive exhibits on the history of the treatment of mental illness.
  • The authors explain that the links between illness and economic loss are complicated.
British Dictionary definitions for illness


a disease or indisposition; sickness
a state of ill health
(obsolete) wickedness
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for illness

"disease, sickness," 1680s, from ill + -ness. Earlier it meant "bad moral quality" (c.1500).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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illness in Medicine

illness ill·ness (ĭl'nĭs)
Disease of body or mind; poor health; sickness.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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