plag-, plagu-, plague-

(Greek > Latin: strike, stroke, blow, wound; beat the chest; lament loudly [while beating the chest]; pestilence)

black plague (s) (noun), black plagues (pl)
An acute, severe infection that appears in a bubonic or pneumonic form: The term, black plague, was applied to the conditions in the Middle Ages when massive epidemics occurred in Europe.
bubonic plague (s) (noun), bubonic plagues (pl)
A highly contagious illness typically accompanied by fever, chills, headaches, and swollen lymph nodes, transmitted by the bite of rodents and fleas: The doctor warned the community to be cautious around rats as there were several cases of bubonic plague reported in the countryside.

Bubonic plague usually starts one to five days after infection with a fever, shivering, and a severe headache.

Sometimes, septicemia (blood poisoning) is an early complication and it may cause death before other signs of the disease appear.

The plague may have three clinical forms: bubonic, pneumonic (pneumonia), or septicemic (blood poisoning). The misleading use of the word bubonic (which means that it is characterized by buboes, or inflammatory swellings of lymph nodes) has developed into the mistaken idea that the real plague is necessarily bubonic and that non-bubonic types are a different disease altogether.

The mild forms of plague infections are bubonic while the other forms are severe and almost always fatal, unless properly treated; and the bubonic plague consists of about three-fourths of the total kinds of plague cases.

—Compiled from information located in
The Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 17; Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.;
William Benton Publisher; Chicago; 1968; page 1146.
pestis minor (s) (noun) pestis minors (pl)
A form of the virulent disease in which a person is able to walk around: A pestis minor is an ambulatory plague or a mild form of bubonic plague that is characterized by less serious symptoms; such as, a mild fever and lymphadenitis (inflammation of lymph nodes, organs that fight infections).
plague (s) (noun), plagues (pl)
1. Any contagious, malignant, epidemic sickness that causes high mortality; a pestilence characterized by fevers, chills, and prostration: The outbreak of measles among the young children including Jimmy spread like the plague, making many children very ill.
2. An acute ailment of rodents due to the bacterium, "Yersinia pestis", transmitted to humans through the bite of infected fleas, or by inhalation: The epidemiologist, Dr. Robinson, was trying to find a way to restrict the plague in the rural areas of the country.
3. Any widespread affliction, calamity, or evil; especially, one regarded as a direct punishment by God: The medieval peasants were often afraid of plagues of war and desolations.
4. Any cause of trouble, annoyance, or vexation: Uninvited guests, especially relatives, are sometimes considered to be a plague by Tom and June White.

More Details about Plagues

A plague is a serious infectious disease which primarily affects rodents; however, it is also transmissible to humans by the bites of rodent fleas.

Plagues have been a scourge to people since early history. One of the largest pandemics (world-wide epidemics) was the "black death" of the 14th century, which killed an estimated 25 million people in Europe alone.

Today, the human plague occurs sporadically in various parts of the world (including the U.S.), but it can be treated with antibiotics.

The bacterium responsible for the disease, yersinia pestis, circulates among rodents and their fleas in many parts of the world. The great pandemics of the past were caused by the spread of the plague from wild rodents to rats in cities and then to humans (via rat fleas) when the rats died.

—Compiled from information provided by
The American Medical Association Home Medical Encyclopedia
Volume Two, I-Z; Medical Editor, Charles B. Clayman, MD;
Randam House; New York; 1998; page 799.
plague (verb), plagues; plagued; plaguing
1. To trouble, to annoy, to worry, or to torment in any manner: The question of Mark's future plagues him with doubt.

The designated countries were plagued by widespread fraud, corruption and organized crime.

2. To annoy, bother, or pester: Locusts plagued the farmers as their crops disappeared.
3. To smite or attack with pestilence, death, etc.; a scourge: The mosquitoes were beginning to plague the low lying towns, bringing illness and misery.
4. To cause an epidemic in or among men, women and children: The doctors were afraid that smallpox would begin to plague the rural communities if the medicines were not distributed immediately.
5. To afflict with any kind of evil: Henry was plagued by allergies that caused his skin to itch all his life.
6. Etymology: "affliction, calamity, evil, scourge"; also, "malignant disease", from Middle French plague, from Late Latin plaga, used in the Vulgate for "pestilence"; from Latin plaga, "stroke, wound"; probably from the root of plangere, "to strike, to lament (by beating the breast)".

The meaning of an epidemic disease that causes many deaths was first recorded in 1548-49, in the Book of Common Prayer, where the introduction of the spelling plague was first found.

To afflict with a disease or an evil; to greatly annoy.
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plagueful (adjective), more plagueful, most plagueful
A reference to any serious affliction that spreads quickly to many people and often results in their deaths: There have been several plagueful maladies that have killed many members of the human race throughout history and even during our modern times.
plaguer (s) (noun), plaguers (pl)
An person or something that annoys, bothers, or pesters humans: There has been a plaguer who was involved in several bank robberies in the local area last fall.

Ants are often plaguers of those who go on picnics.

plaguey (adjective), more plaguey, most plaguey
1. A reference to something that is likely to spread and cause an epidemic sickness: There are plaguey fevers, plaguey infections, and many other plaguey things that cause people and other creatures to suffer.
2. Causing irritation or annoyance: Henry was tapping an annoying plaguey rhythm on his glass with his fork.

Aircraft noise is a particularly plaguey irritation for those who live near an airport.

One of the most plaguey insects are mosquitoes.

Some people have to put up with plaguey swarms of pestering gnats.

3. In a disagreeable manner: Shirley went home sweating and complained that the plaguey temperature was too hot today!
plaguily (adverb), more plaguily, most plaguily
1. In a disagreeable manner: The talk show-host plaguily criticized a caller who disagreed with his political views.
2. In a manner to vex, to harass, or to embarrass: The politician was accused of being plaguily dishonest and telling lies, of which very few people believed or were willing to consider.
plaguy (adverb), more plaguy, most plaguy
1. In a manner that torments or annoys: Mildred has a plaguy excessive pile of debts that she can't pay.
2. A reference to something that causes a strong irritation or an unpleasant condition: This room is just too plaguy cold in this winter weather.
plaintiff (s) (noun), plaintiffs (pl)
1. Someone who presents a legal case, or a legal charge, against another person in a court of law: The plaintiff is the one who does the complaining.
2. Etymology: from late Latin plangere, "to strike, to beat one's breast, or to lament"; also, from Anglo French plaint, "lamentation".
Someone who brings a suit into a court of law against another person.
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plaintive (adjective), more plaintive, most plaintive
1. Conveying sadness or mournfulness; relating to suffering: Mark heard the plaintive cries from the woman who had just slipped on the icy sidewalk and fallen; so, he rushed to help her and he used his cell phone to call for an ambulance to come so she could receive medical aid.
2. Etymology: from Latin planctus, "lamentation"; from plangere, "to lament, to beat the chest".
Expressing pain and suffering.
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plaintively (adverb), more plaintively, most plaintively
A reference to conveying misery and mournfully showing woefulness: Greg was plaintively crying because his beloved dog suddenly died.
plaintiveness (s) (noun) (no plural)
An expression of sorrow or grievousness: The plaintiveness of the children at their mother's funeral was strongly indicated by all of them.
pneumonic plague (s) (noun), pneumonic plagues (pl)
A highly virulent form of plague with extensive involvement of the lungs: Pneumonic plague occurs as a sequela or result of bubonic plague or as a primary infection.

In pneumonic plague, there is severe coughing that produces a bloody, frothy sputum (a thick unpleasant substance that is produced in the throat and lungs when someone has an infection) and there is also labored or very difficult breathing that exists for the person.

Death is almost inevitable unless the pneumonic plague is diagnosed and treated early.