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1740, from Italian mal'aria, from mala aria, literally "bad air," from mala "bad" (fem. of malo, from Latin malus; see mal-) + aria "air" (see air (n.1)). Probably first used by Italian physician Francisco Torti (1658-1741). The disease, now known to be mosquito-borne, once was thought to be caused by foul air in marshy districts. Replaced native ague.
malaria ma·lar·i·a (mə-lâr'ē-ə)
An infectious disease characterized by cycles of chills, fever, and sweating, caused by the parasitic infection of red blood cells by a protozoan of the genus Plasmodium, which is transmitted by the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito. Also called jungle fever, paludism, swamp fever.
An infectious disease of tropical areas caused by the parasitic infection of red blood cells by a protozoan of the genus Plasmodium, which is transmitted by the bite of an infected female mosquito. Malaria is characterized by recurrent episodes of chills, fever, sweating, and anemia and is endemic in Africa, Central America, and much of Southern Asia and northern South America.