1. Specifically, the disease known as the plague; hence, any contagious or infectious epidemic disease that is virulent and devastating. "The pestilence That walketh in darkness." (Ps. Xci. 6)

2. That which is pestilent, noxious, or pernicious to the moral character of great numbers. "I'll pour this pestilence into his ear.

<botany>" (Shak) Pestilence weed, the butterbur coltsfoot (Petasites vulgaris), so called because formerly considered a remedy for the plague.

Origin: F. Pestilence, L. Pestilentia. See Pestilent.

(01 Mar 1998)