pestilence

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pestilence

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

pestilence

[′pes·tə·ləns]
(medicine)
Any epidemic contagious disease.
Infection with the plague organism Pasteurella pestis.
References in classic literature ?
There is no other fear so horrible and unhumanizing as that which makes man dread to breathe heaven's vital air lest it be poison, or to grasp the hand of a brother or friend lest the gripe of the pestilence should clutch him.
And as the exhaustion of the mechanical resources of civilisation clears the heavens of airships at last altogether, Anarchy, Famine and Pestilence are discovered triumphant below.
Son of Atreus," said he, "I deem that we should now turn roving home if we would escape destruction, for we are being cut down by war and pestilence at once.
It was towards the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence.
This was the signal that the small-pox had entered the house and attacked some member of the family; or perhaps the whole family, old and young, were struggling at once with the pestilence.
See here," continued he, drawing forth a small bottle and holding it before their eyes, "in this bottle I hold the small-pox, safely corked up; I have but to draw the cork, and let loose the pestilence, to sweep man, woman, and child from the face of the earth.
But the wars and triumphs of the King pressed hardly on the people of England, and ere his reign was over misery, pestilence, and famine filled the land.