A serious (sometimes fatal) infection transmitted by the bite of an infected rat flea (especially bubonic plague); SYN. pestilence.
Term applied to any epidemic disease with a high mortality rate, but it usually refers to the bubonic plague. This is a disease transmitted by fleas (carried by the black rat) which infect the sufferer with the bacillus Yersinia pestis. An early symptom is swelling of lymph nodes, usually in the armpit and groin; such swellings are called “buboes”. It causes virulent blood poisoning and the death rate is high.
Rarer but more virulent forms of plague are septicemic and pneumonic; both still exert a formidable mortality. Outbreaks of plague still occur, mostly in poor countries, but never to the extent seen in the late Middle Ages.
The first description of the plague dates from 40 bc in Libya.
The Roman empire was swept by plague ad 251–260. After the Black Death in the 14th century, plague remained endemic for the next three centuries, the most notorious outbreak being the Great Plague of London in 1665, when about 100,000 of the 400,000 inhabitants died. Plague claimed 300,000 victims in Prussia in 1709. In the 1980s and 1990s there were cases of plague in Africa, Latin America, and India.
ETYM Latin plaga a blow, stroke, plague; akin to Greek, from plessein to strike; cf. Latin plangere to strike, beat. Related to Plaint.
1. A disastrous evil or affliction; calamity.
2. A destructively numerous influx.
3. A cause of irritation; nuisance.
4. A sudden unwelcome outbreak.
Narodni naziv za kugu.
Bolest koja vlada nekim krajem, zarazna bolest, zaraza, rednja, narodna bolest; u užem smislu: bolest koja je došla spolja i neko vreme vladala u nekom kraju, no bolest od koje taj kraj inače ne pati; supr. endemija.