A disease is a health condition that has a specific set of symptoms and traits — such as malaria or heart disease.

Disease is not always about the human body being sick. Plants and animals are often the victims of disease. People also use the word disease in a more figurative sense to illustrate just how bad or damaging a negative influence can be — like the disease of greed among capitalists or the disease of plagiarism among college students.

Definitions of disease

n an impairment of health or a condition of abnormal functioning

show 241 types...
hide 241 types...
disease of the neuromuscular junction
a disease characterized by impairment of neuromuscular junctions
disease especially in agricultural workers caused by inhalation of Aspergillus spores causing lumps in skin and ears and respiratory organs
a disease of humans that is not communicable; caused by infection with Bacillus anthracis followed by septicemia
any of several human or animal diseases characterized by dark urine resulting from rapid breakdown of red blood cells
cat scratch disease
a disease thought to be transmitted to humans by a scratch from a cat
any disease or disorder that occurs during the course of (or because of) another disease
an ill-defined bodily ailment
endemic, endemic disease
a disease that is constantly present to a greater or lesser degree in people of a certain class or in people living in a particular location
a disease of the intestinal tract
inability of a part or organ to function properly
Kawasaki disease, mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome
an acute disease of young children characterized by a rash and swollen lymph nodes and fever; of unknown cause
pycnosis, pyknosis
a degenerative state of the cell nucleus
Indian tick fever, Kenya fever, Marseilles fever, boutonneuse fever
a disease (common in India and around the Mediterranean area) caused by a rickettsia that is transmitted to humans by a reddish brown tick (ixodid) that lives on dogs and other mammals
Meniere's disease
a disease of the inner ear characterized by episodes of dizziness and tinnitus and progressive hearing loss (usually unilateral)
milk sickness
caused by consuming milk from cattle suffering from trembles
any disease that shows symptoms characteristic of another disease
industrial disease, occupational disease
disease or disability resulting from conditions of employment (usually from long exposure to a noxious substance or from continuous repetition of certain acts)
any disease or disorder of the nails
any painful disorder of the joints or muscles or connective tissues
periarteritis nodosa, polyarteritis nodosa
a progressive disease of connective tissue that is characterized by nodules along arteries; nodules may block the artery and result in inadequate circulation to the particular area
periodontal disease, periodontitis
a disease that attacks the gum and bone and around the teeth
liver disease
a disease affecting the liver
communicable disease
a disease that can be communicated from one person to another
exanthema subitum, pseudorubella, roseola infantilis, roseola infantum
a viral disease of infants and young children; characterized by abrupt high fever and mild sore throat; a few days later there is a faint pinkish rash that lasts for a few hours to a few days
respiratory disease, respiratory disorder, respiratory illness
a disease affecting the respiratory system
congenital disease, genetic abnormality, genetic defect, genetic disease, genetic disorder, hereditary condition, hereditary disease, inherited disease, inherited disorder
a disease or disorder that is inherited genetically
inflammatory disease
a disease characterized by inflammation
autoimmune disease, autoimmune disorder
any of a large group of diseases characterized by abnormal functioning of the immune system that causes your immune system to produce antibodies against your own tissues
deficiency disease
any disease caused by a lack of an essential nutrient (as a vitamin or mineral)
cystic breast disease, cystic mastitis, fibrocystic breast disease, fibrocystic disease of the breast
the presence of one or more cysts in a breast
goiter, goitre, struma, thyromegaly
abnormally enlarged thyroid gland; can result from underproduction or overproduction of hormone or from a deficiency of iodine in the diet
pappataci fever, phlebotomus, sandfly fever
a mild viral disease transmitted by the bite of the sand fly Phlebotomus papatasii
disease of the skin, skin disease, skin disorder
a disease affecting the skin
malignance, malignancy
(medicine) a malignant state; progressive and resistant to treatment and tending to cause death
eye disease
any disease of the eye
animal disease
a disease that typically does not affect human beings
plant disease
a disease that affects plants
ozaena, ozena
a chronic disease of the nose characterized by a foul-smelling nasal discharge and atrophy of nasal structures
a disease caused by nematodes in the blood or tissues of the body causing blockage of lymphatic vessels
a lumpy abscess under the hide of domestic mammals caused by larvae of a botfly or warble fly
ARDS, adult respiratory distress syndrome, wet lung, white lung
acute lung injury characterized by coughing and rales; inflammation of the lungs which become stiff and fibrous and cannot exchange oxygen; occurs among persons exposed to irritants such as corrosive chemical vapors or ammonia or chlorine etc.
cutaneous anthrax, malignant pustule
a form of anthrax infection that begins as papule that becomes a vesicle and breaks with a discharge of toxins; symptoms of septicemia are severe with vomiting and high fever and profuse sweating; the infection is often fatal
anthrax pneumonia, inhalation anthrax, pulmonary anthrax, ragpicker's disease, ragsorter's disease, woolsorter's disease, woolsorter's pneumonia
a form of anthrax infection acquired by inhalation of dust containing Bacillus anthracis; initial symptoms (chill and cough and dyspnea and rapid pulse) are followed by extreme cardiovascular collapse
monogenic disease, monogenic disorder
an inherited disease controlled by a single pair of genes
polygenic disease, polygenic disorder
an inherited disease controlled by several genes at once
incompetence of the gonads (especially in the male with low testosterone); results in deficient development of secondary sex characteristics and (in prepubertal males) a body with long legs and a short trunk
valvular incompetence
inability of a bodily valve to close completely
myasthenia, myasthenia gravis
a chronic progressive disease characterized by chronic fatigue and muscular weakness (especially in the face and neck); caused by a deficiency of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junctions
Eaton-Lambert syndrome, Lambert-Eaton syndrome, carcinomatous myopathy, myasthenic syndrome
a disease seen in patients with lung cancer and characterized by weakness and fatigue of hip and thigh muscles and an aching back; caused by antibodies directed against the neuromuscular junctions
separation of a nail from its normal attachment to the nail bed
Riggs' disease, pyorrhea, pyorrhea alveolaris, pyorrhoea
chronic periodontitis; purulent inflammation of the teeth sockets
alveolar resorption
wasting of the bony socket
inflammation of the gums
recession of the gums
MS, disseminated multiple sclerosis, disseminated sclerosis, multiple sclerosis
a chronic progressive nervous disorder involving loss of myelin sheath around certain nerve fibers
cirrhosis, cirrhosis of the liver
a chronic disease interfering with the normal functioning of the liver; the major cause is chronic alcoholism
fatty liver
yellow discoloration as a result of the accumulation of certain fats (triglycerides) in the liver; can be caused by alcoholic cirrhosis or pregnancy or exposure to certain toxins
IDDM, autoimmune diabetes, growth-onset diabetes, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, juvenile diabetes, juvenile-onset diabetes, ketoacidosis-prone diabetes, ketosis-prone diabetes, type I diabetes
severe diabetes mellitus with an early onset; characterized by polyuria and excessive thirst and increased appetite and weight loss and episodic ketoacidosis; diet and insulin injections are required to control the disease
Graves' disease, exophthalmic goiter
exophthalmos occurring in association with goiter; hyperthyroidism with protrusion of the eyeballs
achondroplasia, achondroplasty, chondrodystrophy, osteosclerosis congenita
an inherited skeletal disorder beginning before birth; cartilage is converted to bone resulting in dwarfism
contagion, contagious disease
any disease easily transmitted by contact
flu, grippe, influenza
an acute febrile highly contagious viral disease
infectious disease
a disease transmitted only by a specific kind of contact
inflammation of the liver caused by a virus or a toxin
cancer of the liver, liver cancer
malignant neoplastic disease of the liver usually occurring as a metastasis from another cancer; symptoms include loss of appetite and weakness and bloating and jaundice and upper abdominal discomfort
NEC, necrotizing enterocolitis
an acute inflammatory disease occurring in the intestines of premature infants; necrosis of intestinal tissue may follow
pertussis, whooping cough
a disease of the respiratory mucous membrane
cold, common cold
a mild viral infection involving the nose and respiratory passages (but not the lungs)
asthma, asthma attack, bronchial asthma
respiratory disorder characterized by wheezing; usually of allergic origin
inflammation of the membranes lining the bronchial tubes
emphysema, pulmonary emphysema
an abnormal condition of the lungs marked by decreased respiratory function; associated with smoking or chronic bronchitis or old age
respiratory disease characterized by inflammation of the lung parenchyma (excluding the bronchi) with congestion caused by viruses or bacteria or irritants
atypical pneumonia, mycoplasmal pneumonia, primary atypical pneumonia
an acute respiratory disease marked by high fever and coughing; caused by mycoplasma; primarily affecting children and young adults
interstitial pneumonia
chronic lung disease affecting the interstitial tissue of the lungs
pneumoconiosis, pneumonoconiosis
chronic respiratory disease caused by inhaling metallic or mineral particles
hyaline membrane disease, respiratory distress syndrome, respiratory distress syndrome of the newborn
an acute lung disease of the newborn (especially the premature newborn); lungs cannot expand because of a wetting agent is lacking; characterized by rapid shallow breathing and cyanosis and the formation of a glassy hyaline membrane over the alveoli
a rare inherited disorder of fat metabolism; characterized by severe deficiency of beta-lipoproteins and abnormal red blood cells (acanthocytes) and abnormally low cholesterol levels
inborn error of metabolism
any of a number of diseases in which an inherited defect (usually a missing or inadequate enzyme) results in an abnormality of metabolism
Hirschsprung's disease, congenital megacolon
congenital condition in which the colon does not have the normal network of nerves; there is little urge to defecate so the feces accumulate and cause megacolon
any of a group of genetic disorders involving a defect in the metabolism of mucopolysaccharides resulting in greater than normal levels of mucopolysaccharides in tissues
a genetic disorder characterized by high levels of beta-lipoproteins and cholesterol; can lead to atherosclerosis at an early age
any of several congenital diseases in which the skin is dry and scaly like a fish
branched chain ketoaciduria, maple syrup urine disease
an inherited disorder of metabolism in which the urine has a odor characteristic of maple syrup; if untreated it can lead to mental retardation and death in early childhood
McArdle's disease
an inherited disease in which abnormal amounts of glycogen accumulate in skeletal muscle; results in weakness and cramping
dystrophy, muscular dystrophy
any of several hereditary diseases of the muscular system characterized by weakness and wasting of skeletal muscles
congenital condition in which some fingers or toes are missing
congenital condition in which some of the teeth are missing
hereditary disorder in which ossification of the labyrinth of the inner ear causes tinnitus and eventual deafness
autosomal dominant disease, autosomal dominant disorder
a disease caused by a dominant mutant gene on an autosome
autosomal recessive defect, autosomal recessive disease
a disease caused by the presence of two recessive mutant genes on an autosome
Fanconi's anaemia, Fanconi's anemia, congenital pancytopenia
a rare congenital anemia characterized by pancytopenia and hypoplasia of the bone marrow
Spielmeyer-Vogt disease, juvenile amaurotic idiocy
a congenital progressive disorder of lipid metabolism having an onset at age 5 and characterized by blindness and dementia and early death
congenital afibrinogenemia
a rare congenital disorder of blood coagulation in which no fibrinogen is found in the blood plasma
gastroenteritis, intestinal flu, stomach flu
inflammation of the stomach and intestines; can be caused by Salmonella enteritidis
PID, pelvic inflammatory disease
inflammation of the female pelvic organs (especially the Fallopian tubes) caused by infection by any of several microorganisms (chiefly gonococci and chlamydia); symptoms are abdominal pain and fever and foul-smelling vaginal discharge
a collection of pus in a body cavity (especially in the lung cavity)
inflammation of the pleura of the lungs (especially the parietal layer)
inflammation of the renal pelvis
pharyngitis, raw throat, sore throat
inflammation of the fauces and pharynx
any disease of the throat or fauces marked by spasmodic attacks of intense suffocative pain
SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome
a respiratory disease of unknown etiology that apparently originated in mainland China in 2003; characterized by fever and coughing or difficulty breathing or hypoxia; can be fatal
inflammation of a joint or joints
atrophic arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis
a chronic autoimmune disease with inflammation of the joints and marked deformities; something (possibly a virus) triggers an attack on the synovium by the immune system, which releases cytokines that stimulate an inflammatory reaction that can lead to the destruction of all components of the joint
a state of poor nutrition; can result from insufficient or excessive or unbalanced diet or from inability to absorb foods
zinc deficiency
a deficiency caused by inadequate zinc in the diet or by liver disease or cystic fibrosis or other diseases
Albers-Schonberg disease, marble bones disease, osteopetrosis
an inherited disorder characterized by an increase in bone density; in severe forms the bone marrow cavity may be obliterated
any plant disease resulting in withering without rotting
leaf disease
any plant disease localized in the foliage
Marie-Strumpell disease, ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid spondylitis
a chronic form of spondylitis primarily in males and marked by impaired mobility of the spine; sometimes leads to ankylosis
DLE, discoid lupus erythematosus
a chronic skin disease occurring primarily in women between the ages of 20 and 40; characterized by an eruption of red lesions over the cheeks and bridge of the nose
Hashimoto's disease
autoimmune disorder of the thyroid gland; most common in middle-aged women
LE, lupus erythematosus
a chronic inflammatory collagen disease affecting connective tissue (skin or joints)
a breakdown of a cell layer in the epidermis (as in pemphigus)
an abnormal but benign thickening of the prickle-cell layer of the skin (as in psoriasis)
acanthosis nigricans, keratosis nigricans
a skin disease characterized by dark wartlike patches in the body folds; can be benign or malignant
an inflammatory disease involving the sebaceous glands of the skin; characterized by papules or pustules or comedones
disorder involving lesions or eruptions of the skin (in which there is usually no inflammation)
generic term for inflammatory conditions of the skin; particularly with vesiculation in the acute stages
any skin disorder involving abnormal redness
acute skin disease characterized by the presence of many furuncles
a very contagious infection of the skin; common in children; localized redness develops into small blisters that gradually crust and erode
jungle rot
skin disorder induced by a tropical climate
keratoderma, keratodermia
any skin disorder consisting of a growth that appears horny
any abnormal condition of the outer skin (epidermis)
a skin condition marked by an overgrowth of layers of horny skin
a congenital skin condition characterized by spots or bands of unpigmented skin
any of several eruptive skin diseases characterized by hard thick lesions grouped together and resembling lichens growing on rocks
skin disorder characterized by patchy bluish discolorations on the skin
any of several forms of ulcerative skin disease
melanism, melanosis
a condition characterized by abnormal deposits of melanin (especially in the skin)
any skin disease characterized by soft pulpy nodules
necrobiosis lipoidica, necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum
skin disease marked by thin shiny patches (especially on the legs); often associated with diabetes mellitus
a skin disease characterized by large thin-walled blisters (bullae) arising from normal skin or mucous membrane
chronic inflammatory disease of the skin characterized by blister capped papules and intense itching
a chronic skin disease characterized by dry red patches covered with scales; occurs especially on the scalp and ears and genitalia and the skin over bony prominences
cracks or fissures in the skin (especially around the mouth or anus)
Saint Anthony's fire
any of several inflammatory or gangrenous skin conditions
a condition in which overactivity of the sebaceous glands causes the skin to become oily
an acquired skin disease characterized by patches of unpigmented skin (often surrounded by a heavily pigmented border)
a skin problem marked by the development (on the eyelids and neck and back) of irregular yellow nodules; sometimes attributable to disturbances of cholesterol metabolism
an abnormal yellow discoloration of the skin
malignant neoplasm, malignant tumor, metastatic tumor
a tumor that is malignant and tends to spread to other parts of the body
an eye disease that involves the clouding or opacification of the natural lens of the eye
macular edema
an eye disease caused by a swelling of the macula resulting from leakage and accumulation of fluid
cystoid macular edema
a specific pattern of swelling in the central retina
(plural) an eye disease resulting from small accumulations of hyaline bodies underneath the retina
an eye disease that damages the optic nerve and impairs vision (sometimes progressing to blindness)
any disease of the cornea
macular degeneration
eye disease caused by degeneration of the cells of the macula lutea and results in blurred vision; can cause blindness
a disease of the retina that can result in loss of vision
a chronic contagious viral disease marked by inflammation of the conjunctiva and cornea of the eye and the formation of scar tissue
leucoma, leukoma
eye disease consisting of an opaque white spot on the cornea
a disease of cattle that is transmitted by cattle ticks; similar to Texas fever
aspergillosis, brooder pneumonia
severe respiratory disease of birds that takes the form of an acute rapidly fatal pneumonia in young chickens and turkeys
any of various diseases of animals characterized by edema of the head and neck
BSE, bovine spongiform encephalitis, mad cow disease
a fatal disease of cattle that affects the central nervous system; causes staggering and agitation
bull nose
a disease of pigs resulting in swelling of the snout
a viral disease of camels closely related to smallpox
canine chorea, chorea
chorea in dogs
catarrhal fever
any of several disease of livestock marked by fever and edema of the respiratory tract
chronic wasting disease
a wildlife disease (akin to bovine spongiform encephalitis) that affects deer and elk
a fatal disease of freshwater fish caused by a flagellated protozoan invading the skin
cowpox, vaccinia
a viral disease of cattle causing a mild skin disease affecting the udder; formerly used to inoculate humans against smallpox
a disease of cattle and sheep attributed to a dietary deficiency; characterized by anemia and softening of the bones and a slow stiff gait
hemorrhagic septicemia, pasteurellosis
an acute infectious disease characterized by pneumonia and blood infection
fistula, fistulous withers
a chronic inflammation of the withers of a horse
fowl cholera
an acute diarrheal disease (especially of chickens) caused by the microorganism that causes hemorrhagic septicemia
fowl pest
either of two acute viral diseases of domestic fowl; characterized by refusal to eat and high temperature and discoloration of the comb
hog cholera
highly infectious virus disease of swine
any of various infectious viral diseases of animals
a disease of cattle and sheep that is attributed to toxins absorbed from the intestines
foot-and-mouth disease, hoof-and-mouth disease
acute contagious disease of cloven-footed animals marked by ulcers in the mouth and around the hoofs
foot rot
contagious degenerative infection of the feet of hoofed animals (especially cattle and sheep)
black disease, distomatosis, liver rot, sheep rot
a disease of the liver (especially in sheep and cattle) caused by liver flukes and their by-products
broken wind, heaves
a chronic emphysema of the horse that causes difficult expiration and heaving of the flanks
red water
a disease of cattle; characterized by hematuria
a respiratory infection of the nose and throat in cattle
cattle plague, rinderpest
an acute infectious viral disease of cattle (usually fatal); characterized by fever and diarrhea and inflammation of mucous membranes
diarrhea in livestock
a fatal disease of sheep characterized by chronic itching and loss of muscular control and progressive degeneration of the central nervous system
shipping fever, shipping pneumonia
a deadly form of septicemia in cattle and sheep; involves high fever and pneumonia; contracted under conditions of exposure or exhaustion (as often happens when the animals are shipped to market)
a swelling of the hock joint of a horse; resulting in lameness
loco disease, locoism
a disease of livestock caused by locoweed poisoning; characterized by weakness and lack of coordination and trembling and partial paralysis
looping ill
an acute viral disease of the nervous system in sheep; can be transmitted by Ixodes ricinus
a persistent and contagious disease of the skin causing inflammation and itching and loss of hair; affects domestic animals (and sometimes people)
moon blindness, mooneye
recurrent eye inflammation in horses; sometimes resulting in blindness
any disease of domestic animals that resembles a plague
a viral disease (usually fatal) of rabbits
Newcastle disease
disease of domestic fowl and other birds
a disease of poultry
parrot disease, psittacosis
infectious disease of birds
bacillary white diarrhea, bacillary white diarrhoea, pullorum disease
a serious bacterial disease of young chickens
gall, saddle sore
an open sore on the back of a horse caused by ill-fitting or badly adjusted saddle
sand crack
a fissure in the wall of a horse's hoof often causing lameness
blind staggers, staggers
a disease of the central nervous system affecting especially horses and cattle; characterized by an unsteady swaying gait and frequent falling
sweating sickness
a disease of cattle (especially calves)
Texas fever
an infectious disease of cattle transmitted by the cattle tick
milk sickness, trembles
disease of livestock and especially cattle poisoned by eating certain kinds of snakeroot
zoonosis, zoonotic disease
an animal disease that can be transmitted to humans
a plant disease that produces a reddish-brown discoloration of leaves and stems; caused by various rust fungi
any of various diseases in which the central tissues blacken
black knot
disease of plum and cherry trees characterized by black excrescences on the branches
black rot
a fungous disease causing darkening and decay of the leaves of fruits and vegetables
black spot
any of several fungous diseases of plants that produce small black spots on the plant
bottom rot
fungous disease of lettuce that first rots lower leaves and spreads upward
brown rot
any of certain fungous diseases of plants characterized by browning and decay of tissues
pathological production of gummy exudates in citrus and various stone-fruit trees
a fungal disease of woody plants that causes localized damage to the bark
cotton ball
a fungus disease of cranberries
crown gall
a bacterial disease of plants (especially pome and stone fruits and grapes and roses) which forms excrescences on the stem near the ground
crown wart
a fungous disease of alfalfa which forms white excrescences at the base of the stem
damping off
a plant disease caused by a fungus; diseased condition of seedlings in excessive moisture
a disease of plants characterized by the gradual dying of the young shoots starting at the tips and progressing to the larger branches
dry rot
a crumbling and drying of timber or bulbs or potatoes or fruit caused by a fungus
any plant disease in which the central part of a plant rots (especially in trees)
viral disease in solanaceous plants (tomatoes, potatoes, tobacco) resulting in mottling and often shriveling of the leaves
rhizoctinia disease
disease caused by rhizoctinia or fungi of Pellicularia and Corticium
pink disease
serious bark disease of many tropical crop trees (coffee, citrus, rubber); branches have a covering of pink hyphae
potato wart
fungous disease causing dark warty spongy excrescences in the eyes of potato tubers
root rot
disease characterized by root decay; caused by various fungi
a plant disease that produces a browning or scorched appearance of plant tissues
sweet-potato ring rot
disease of sweet potatoes in which roots are girdled by rings of dry rot
sclerotium disease, sclerotium rot
plant disease cause by fungi of the genus Sclerotium; also one in which sclerotia are formed
Dutch elm disease
disease of elms caused by a fungus
a plant disease caused by the ergot fungus
foot rot
plant disease in which the stem or trunk rots at the base
a fungal disease of onions
wilt, wilt disease
any plant disease characterized by drooping and shriveling; usually caused by parasites attacking the roots
destructive diseases of plants (especially cereal grasses) caused by fungi that produce black powdery masses of spores
soft rot
mushy or slimy decay of plants caused by bacteria or fungi
yellow dwarf
any of several virus diseases of plants characterized by stunting and yellowing of the leaves
yellow spot
any of several fungous or viral diseases characterized by yellow spotting on the leaves
nevoid elephantiasis, pachyderma
thickening of the skin (usually unilateral on an extremity) caused by congenital enlargement of lymph vessel and lymph vessel obstruction
dwarfism, nanism
a genetic abnormality resulting in short stature
lactase deficiency, lactose intolerance, milk intolerance
congenital disorder consisting of an inability to digest milk and milk products; absence or deficiency of lactase results in an inability to hydrolyze lactose
a genetic abnormality of metabolism causing abdominal pains and mental confusion
ileus, intestinal obstruction
blockage of the intestine (especially the ileum) that prevents the contents of the intestine from passing to the lower bowel
dermatosclerosis, scleroderma
an autoimmune disease that affects the blood vessels and connective tissue; fibrous connective tissue is deposited in the skin
Werlhof's disease, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, purpura hemorrhagica, thrombocytopenic purpura
purpura associated with a reduction in circulating blood platelets which can result from a variety of factors
urinary tract infection
any infection of any of the organs of the urinary tract
Wilson's disease, hepatolenticular degeneration
a rare inherited disorder of copper metabolism; copper accumulates in the liver and then in the red blood cells and brain
Type of:
illness, malady, sickness, unwellness
impairment of normal physiological function affecting part or all of an organism

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.