9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pes-tl-uh ns] /ˈpɛs tl əns/
a deadly or virulent epidemic disease.
something that is considered harmful, destructive, or evil.
Origin of pestilence
1275-1325; Middle English < Middle French < Latin pestilentia. See pestilent, -ence
Related forms
antipestilence, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for pestilence
  • They glide down corridors like allegories of pestilence and famine.
  • Fire, pestilence and greed devoured the people.
  • In recent months the city has revived its efforts to curb honking, smoking and the pestilence of plastic bags.
  • In 250, a pestilence began to rage, and made great havoc for several years.
  • Every few years the city was scourged by a pestilence of yellow fever.
  • It was a place of such “richness and abundance” that “neither war, pestilence nor oppression could destroy” it.
  • Everyone must use less water if famine, pestilence and mass migration are not to sweep the globe.
  • Looked down on by everybody around them, they lived in "Frogtown," near a creek crawling with snakes and flowing with pestilence.
  • He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence.
  • They are a pestilence that cannot be hunted in the densely populated areas they inhabit.
British Dictionary definitions for pestilence


  1. any epidemic outbreak of a deadly and highly infectious disease, such as the plague
  2. such a disease
an evil influence or idea
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for pestilence

c.1300, from Old French pestilence "plague, epidemic" (12c.) and directly from Latin pestilentia "a plague, an unwholesome atmosphere," noun of condition from pestilentem (nominative pestilens) "infected, unwholesome, noxious," from pestis "deadly disease, plague" (see pest).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
pestilence in Medicine

pestilence pes·ti·lence (pěs'tə-ləns)

  1. A usually fatal epidemic disease, especially bubonic plague.

  2. An epidemic of such a disease.

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

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for pestilence

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for pestilence

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with pestilence

Nearby words for pestilence