Etymology
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pestilence (n.)

c. 1300, "any infectious or contagious disease, fatal epidemic," 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).

Also in Middle English "wickedness, evil, sin, a vice, that which is morally pestilential."

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Definitions of pestilence

pestilence (n.)
a serious (sometimes fatal) infection of rodents caused by Yersinia pestis and accidentally transmitted to humans by the bite of a flea that has bitten an infected animal;
Synonyms: plague / pest / pestis
pestilence (n.)
any epidemic disease with a high death rate;
Synonyms: plague / pest
pestilence (n.)
a pernicious and malign influence that is hard to get rid of;
racism is a pestilence at the heart of the nation
Synonyms: canker
From wordnet.princeton.edu