plague

When the homeowner described her ant problem as a plague, the exterminator thought she was being a bit melodramatic. After all, a few bugs aren't exactly a huge calamity.

Centuries ago, if you had admitted to a friend that you had the plague, that friend would have hightailed it in the other direction. In the Middle Ages, the plague was a horribly contagious illness that spread like wildfire through Europe, killing millions of people. Thanks to the introduction of better hygiene and antibiotics, plague doesn't describe a killer disease as often these days. Instead, it commonly overstates an annoyance, like an apartment dweller claiming his building is plagued by cockroaches.

Primary Meanings of plague

1.
n
any large-scale calamity (especially when thought to be sent by God)
2.
nv
any epidemic disease with a high death rate
cause to suffer a blight
3.
nv
an annoyance
annoy continually or chronically
Full Definitions of plague
1

n any large-scale calamity (especially when thought to be sent by God)

Type of:
calamity, cataclysm, catastrophe, disaster, tragedy
an event resulting in great loss and misfortune
2

n any epidemic disease with a high death rate

Synonyms:
pest, pestilence
Type of:
epidemic disease
any infectious disease that develops and spreads rapidly to many people

n a serious (sometimes fatal) infection of rodents caused by Yersinia pestis and accidentally transmitted to humans by the bite of a flea that has bitten an infected animal

Synonyms:
pest, pestilence, pestis
Types:
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bubonic plague, glandular plague, pestis bubonica
the most common form of the plague in humans; characterized by chills, prostration, delirium and the formation of buboes in the armpits and groin; does not spread from person to person
plague pneumonia, pneumonic plague, pulmonic plague
a rapidly progressive and frequently fatal form of the plague that can spread through the air from person to person; characterized by lung involvement with chill, bloody expectoration and high fever
septicemic plague
an especially dangerous and generally fatal form of the plague in which infecting organisms invade the bloodstream; does not spread from person to person
ambulant plague, ambulatory plague, pestis ambulans
a mild form of bubonic plague
Black Death, Black Plague
the epidemic form of bubonic plague experienced during the Middle Ages when it killed nearly half the people of western Europe
Type of:
epidemic disease
any infectious disease that develops and spreads rapidly to many people

n a swarm of insects that attack plants

“a plague of grasshoppers”
Synonyms:
infestation
Type of:
cloud, swarm
a group of many things in the air or on the ground

v cause to suffer a blight

Synonyms:
blight
Type of:
afflict, smite
cause physical pain or suffering in
3

n an annoyance

“those children are a damn plague
Type of:
annoyance, bother, botheration, infliction, pain, pain in the ass, pain in the neck
something or someone that causes trouble; a source of unhappiness

v annoy continually or chronically

Synonyms:
beset, chevvy, chevy, chivvy, chivy, harass, harry, hassle, molest, provoke
Types:
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goad, needle
goad or provoke,as by constant criticism
bedevil, crucify, dun, frustrate, rag, torment
treat cruelly
haze
harass by imposing humiliating or painful tasks, as in military institutions
madden
drive up the wall; go on someone's nerves
hamstring
make ineffective or powerless
badger, beleaguer, bug, pester, tease
annoy persistently
oppress, persecute
cause to suffer
Type of:
annoy, bother, chafe, devil, get at, get to, gravel, irritate, nark, nettle, rag, rile, vex
cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations

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