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a deadly or virulent epidemic disease.
something that is considered harmful, destructive, or evil.
Contemporary Examples

If you have dead bodies, pestilence, lice, with a 90 temperature–mosquitoes, flies–then you have serious problems.
Haiti’s Grisly Problem Cyril Wecht January 18, 2010

In dramatic lore their names are Death, Destruction, pestilence, and Famine.
New York City Is the Storied Football Capital of the USA Ben Jacobs January 25, 2014

Cats, the Times told us, are a pestilence akin to gypsy moths and kudzu.
The War on Cats: Jonathan Franzen and Bird-Lovers Fight Back Ben Crair March 20, 2011

This notion of pestilence as a “great equalizer” has remained in vogue ever since plague pop culture began.
Ebola Rages in West Africa, Reigniting Humanity’s Oldest Fear: The Plague Scott Bixby August 3, 2014

The coded “proofs” are everywhere: Floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and pestilence.
Left Behind Author Tim LaHaye on the Rapture Marlow Stern May 18, 2011

Historical Examples

A star like a comet, threatens ruin by war, and death by pestilence.
The Works of Aristotle the Famous Philosopher Anonymous

The second power of vulgarity is obscenity, and this vice is like the pestilence.
The Call of the Twentieth Century David Starr Jordan

Simply this: The earthquake, the lightning, the pestilence, are no respecters of persons.
The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. 6 (of 12) Robert G. Ingersoll

The chief of a nation that prefers the pestilence of despotism to the plague of anarchy.
The Devil’s Dictionary Ambrose Bierce

But the country had been laid very low by war, pestilence and famine, though it recovered itself with wonderful rapidity.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 10, Slice 4 Various


any epidemic outbreak of a deadly and highly infectious disease, such as the plague
such a disease

an evil influence or idea

c.1300, from Old French pestilence “plague, epidemic” (12c.) and directly from Latin pestilentia “a plague, an unwholesome atmosphere,” noun of condition from pestilentem (nominative pestilens) “infected, unwholesome, noxious,” from pestis “deadly disease, plague” (see pest).

pestilence pes·ti·lence (pěs’tə-ləns)

A usually fatal epidemic disease, especially bubonic plague.

An epidemic of such a disease.


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