From Middle English plage, borrowed from Old French plage, from Latin plāga (“blow, wound”), from plangō (“to strike”). Cognate with Middle Dutch plāghe (> Dutch plaag), plāghen (> Dutch plagen); Middle Low German plāge; Middle High German plāge, pflāge (> German Plage); plāgen (> German plagen); Swedish plåga; French plaie, Occitan plaga. Doublet of plaga. Displaced native Old English wōl.
- (often used with the, sometimes capitalized: the Plague) The bubonic plague, the pestilent disease caused by the virulent bacterium Yersinia pestis.
- 1722, Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year:
- It was about the beginning of September, 1664, that I, among the rest of my neighbours, heard in ordinary discourse that the plague was returned again in Holland […] It mattered not from whence it came; but all agreed it was come into Holland again.
- (pathology) An epidemic or pandemic caused by any pestilence, but specifically by the above disease.
- A widespread affliction, calamity or destructive influx, especially when seen as divine retribution.
- Ten Biblical plagues over Egypt, ranging from locusts to the death of the crown prince, finally forced Pharaoh to let Moses's people go.
- c. 1591–1595, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Romeo and Ivliet”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene i], page 64:
- A plague a both the Houſes, I am sped: / Is he gone and hath nothing?
- (figuratively) A grave nuisance, whatever greatly irritates.
- Bart is an utter plague; his pranks never cease.
- Collective noun for common grackles
- avoid like the plague
- be at the plague
- bird plague
- Black Plague
- bubonic plague
- capacitor plague
- cattle plague
- fowl plague
- gay plague
- Pahvant Valley plague
- pig plague
- plague bird
- plague cross
- plague doctor
- plague water
- pneumonic plague
- red plague
- Siberian plague
- white plague
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- (transitive) To harass, pester or annoy someone persistently or incessantly.
- 1837, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Ethel Churchill, volume 1, page 238:
- "Moreover," replied Congreve, "it was a sort of flattery to the duke. It showed that she valued the power of plaguing him more than her own fairest ornament. Flattery is the real secret by which a woman keeps her lover."
- 2018 February, Robert Draper, “They are Watching You—and Everything Else on the Planet: Technology and Our Increasing Demand for Security have Put Us All under Surveillance. Is Privacy Becoming just a Memory?”, in National Geographic, Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, ISSN 0027-9358, OCLC 1049714034, archived from the original on 14 June 2018:
- [W]hat we have here, they believe, are two members of gangs that have been plaguing Islington for more than a year. They snatch smartphones from pedestrians, then sell the items on the black market.
- 2015 April 15, Jonathan Martin, “For a Clinton, It’s Not Hard to Be Humble in an Effort to Regain Power”, in The New York Times:
- Just as Mr. Clinton began a comeback with a down-home plea for forgiveness, Mrs. Clinton now seems determined to prove, perhaps to the point of overcompensation, that she will not repeat the mistakes that plagued her 2008 campaign.
- (transitive) To afflict with a disease or other calamity.
- Natural catastrophes plagued the colonists till they abandoned the pestilent marshland.