From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishillnessill‧ness /ˈɪlnəs/ ●●● S3 W3 noun [countable, uncountable] ILLNESS/DISEASEa disease of the body or mind, or the condition of being ill She had all the normal childhood illnesses. Her mother was recovering from a serious illness. I’ve never missed a day’s work through illness. ways to improve your health and reduce the risk of illness → diseaseCOLLOCATIONSverbshave an illnessWhen did you first find out that you had the illness?suffer from an illnessShe suffers from a rare illness.get/develop an illnessShe developed the illness when she was in her 50s.contract an illness formal (=get an illness by catching it from another person)He contracted the illness while he was working abroad.recover from an illnessIt took several months for him to recover from his illness.be diagnosed with an illness (=be found by doctors to have an illness)Her husband had just been diagnosed with a terminal illness.cause/lead to illnessInadequate hygiene can lead to illness.prevent illnessVaccines have been successful in preventing illness.ADJECTIVES/NOUN + illnessserious/severeHis illness is more severe than the doctors first thought.minor (=not serious)He suffered a succession of minor illnesses.fatal (=causing death quite quickly)She developed a fatal illness.life-threatening (=likely to cause death)Doctors say that his illness isn’t life-threatening.terminal (=causing death eventually, and not possible to cure)At that point the illness was thought to be terminal.incurable (=not possible to cure)The films tells the sad story of a young boy with an incurable illness.acute (=becoming serious very quickly)A lot of illnesses can be either acute or chronic.chronic (=that lasts a long time, and cannot be cured)Diabetes is an example of a chronic illness.a long/short illnessShe nursed him through his long illness.Arthur died following a short illness.a debilitating illness (=that makes you very weak)His last years were ruined by a debilitating illness.a childhood illnessMeasles is a common childhood illness.a mental/psychiatric illnessWe provide specialist care for young people with mental illnesses.phrasesthe symptoms of an illnessSymptoms of the illness include vomiting and severe headaches.a period of illnessHe returned to work after a period of illness.COMMON ERRORS ► Don’t say ‘a heavy illness’. Say a serious illness or a severe illness.THESAURUSillness something wrong with your health which makes you feel illHer husband was in hospital for six months with a serious illness.disease a particular illness, especially one that spreads to other people easily or that affects one part of your bodychildhood diseases such as measles and chickenpoxheart diseaseinfection an illness that is caused by bacteria or a virusHis cough got worse and worse and became a chest infection.condition a health problem that affects you permanently or for a long timea medical condition such as asthmaa heart conditionproblem [usually after a noun] something that is wrong with a particular part of your body or your health in generala serious back problemhealth problemstrouble [singular, only after a noun] illness or pain that affects a particular part of your bodyI’ve had a bit of stomach trouble.disorder formal an illness that prevents a particular organ of your body from working properly, or affects the way you behavea liver disordera blood disorderAnorexia nervosa is an eating disorder.an illness that is not very seriousbug informal an illness that spreads to other people very easily but that is not very seriousThere’s a bug going round at school and a lot of the children are absent.a flu bugcomplaint medical an illness that affects a particular part of your body, especially one that is not very serious – used by doctorsa minor skin complaintDeakin suffers from a back complaint called arachnoiditis.ailment /ˈeɪlmənt/ formal an illness that affects a particular part of your body, especially one that is not seriousPeople often go to their doctor about relatively minor ailments.The ointment is used to treat ailments such as small wounds and insect bites.the general state of being illillness the general state of being illStress is emerging today as a major cause of illness.sickness the state of being ill, especially when it stops you workingabsence from work due to sicknessill health formal the state of being ill, usually for a long period of timeResearch shows that there is a link between air pollution and ill health.
Examples from the Corpusillness• Most childhood illnesses can now be easily prevented.• He himself was thin and pale from illness, and was lying on the bed, wrapped in an old coat.• Our hospitals would be empty if we tried to discriminate between self-induced or even partially self-induced illnesses, and naturally developed diseases.• She died yesterday after a long illness.• About 30 percent of people with a mental illness also are drug or alcohol abusers, the audit said.• His preparation to be a deacon was disturbed by a death and by mental illness.• People are often too embarrassed to admit that they have suffered from any form of mental illness.• mental illness• Minor illnesses such as colds are usually best left to get better by themselves.• Most illnesses and infections are easier to treat if they are diagnosed early.• You are allowed time off work only in cases of serious illness or bereavement.• People whose disabilities begin with severe illness or injury find themselves in medical hands whether they like it or not.• Should doctors always tell patients that they have terminal illnesses such as cancer?• Experiments involve a spurious association between the novel food and the illness which is usually induced chemically or by X-rays.• Doctors believe he may have contracted the illness while he was in Africa.• 80% of patients now recover completely from this illness and are able to lead perfectly normal lives.