American English

Definition of infection noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable] the act or process of causing or getting a disease to be exposed to infection to increase the risk of infection
  2. 2[countable] an illness that is caused by bacteria or a virus an ear/sinus infection to spread an infection 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 compare contagion
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: infection

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