2. An alteration in the state of the body or of some of its organs, interrupting or disturbing the performance of the vital functions, and causing or threatening pain and weakness; malady; affection; illness; sickness; disorder; applied figuratively to the mind, to the moral character and habits, to institutions, the state, etc. "Diseases desperate grown, By desperate appliances are relieved." (Shak) "The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public counsels have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have every where perished." (Madison) Disease germ. See Germ.
Disease is the leading medical term. Disorder mean much the same, with perhaps some slight reference to an irregularity of the system. Distemper is now used by physicians only of the diseases of animals. Malady is not a medical term, and is less used than formerly in literature. Affection has special reference to the part, organ, or function disturbed, as, his disease is an affection of the lungs. A disease is usually deep-seated and permanent, or at least prolonged, a disorder is often slight, partial, and temporary, malady has less of a technical sense than the other terms, and refers more especially to the suffering endured. In a figurative sense we speak of a disease mind, of disordered faculties, and of mental maladies.
Origin: OE. Disese, OF. Desaise; des- (L. Dis-) + aise ease. See Ease.
Origin: Diseased; Diseasing.
(01 Mar 1998)
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