American English

Definition of disease noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    [uncountable, countable]
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  1. 1an illness affecting humans, animals, or plants, often caused by infection heart/liver/kidney, etc. disease health measures to prevent the spread of disease an infectious/contagious disease (= one that can be passed to someone very easily) It is not known what causes the disease. protection against sexually transmitted diseases He suffers from a rare blood disease. A fatty diet increases the risk of heart disease. the problem of controlling pests and disease with organic gardening methods
  2. 2[countable] (formal) something that is very wrong with people's attitudes or way of life, or with society Greed is a disease of modern society. Thesaurusdiseaseillness disorder infection condition ailment bugThese are all words for a medical problem.disease a medical problem affecting humans, animals, or plants, often caused by infection:He suffers from a rare blood disease.illness a medical problem, or a period of suffering from one:She died after a long illness.disease or illness?Disease is used to talk about more severe physical medical problems, especially those that affect the organs. Illness is used to talk about both more severe and more minor medical problems, and, more commonly, those that affect mental health:heart/kidney/liver illness mental disease. Disease is not used about a period of illness:She died after a long disease.disorder (somewhat formal) an illness that causes a part of the body to stop functioning correctly:a rare disorder of the liver A disorder is generally not infectious. Disorder is used most frequently with words relating to mental problems, for example psychiatric, personality, mental, and eating. When it is used to talk about physical problems, it is most often used with blood, bowel, and kidney, and these are commonly serious, severe, or rare.infection an illness that is caused by bacteria or a virus:a sinus infection an ear infectioncondition a medical problem that you have for a long time because it is not possible to cure it:a heart conditionailment (somewhat formal) an illness that is not very serious:childhood ailmentsbug (informal) an infectious illness that is usually fairly mild:a nasty flu bugPatterns to have/suffer from a(n) disease/illness/disorder/infection/condition/ailment/bug to catch/contract/get/pick up a(n) disease/illness/infection/bug
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: disease