Etymology
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visitation (n.)
c. 1300, "a visit by an ecclesiastical representative to examine the condition of a parish, abbey, etc.," from Anglo-French visitacioun, Old French visitacion and directly from Latin visitationem (nominative visitatio), noun of action from past participle stem of visitare (see visit (v.)). The supernatural sense of "a sight, apparition, a coming of God to a mortal" is attested from mid-14c.
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influenza (n.)

type of infectious disease, now known to be caused by a virus, usually occurring as an epidemic, with symptoms similar to a severe cold along with high fever and rapid prostration, 1743, borrowed (during an outbreak of the disease in Europe), from Italian influenza "influenza, epidemic," originally "visitation, influence (of the stars)," from Medieval Latin influentia in the astrological sense (see influence).

AN Article from Rome informs us that a Sort of Plague has broke out there, which destroys Abundance of their People, and they call it the Influenza. [The Gentleman's Magazine, April 1743]

Used in Italian for diseases at least since 1504 (as in influenza di febbre scarlattina "scarlet fever") on notion of astral, occult, or atmospheric influence. The 1743 outbreak began in Italy. Often applied since mid-19c. to severe colds.

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Black Death (n.)

"bubonic/pneumonic plague epidemic of 1347-51 in Europe," a modern name, introduced in English 1823 by Elizabeth Penrose's history of England. The contemporary 14c. name for it in most European languages was something like "the great dying" or simply "the plague;" in English it was the pestilence (or, looking back after its return in 1361-2, the first pestilence).

The term "Black Death" first turns up in 16c. Swedish and Danish chronicles, but it is used in reference to a visitation of plague in Iceland (which had been spared in the earlier outbreaks) in 1402-3 that carried off much of the population there. The exact sense of "black" is not clear. The term appears in English translations of the Scandinavian works from 1750s. It was picked up in German c. 1770 and applied to the earlier outbreak and was taken from there into English in that sense.

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