Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various highly infectious diseases of cattle, as anthrax.
  • n. Obsolete A pestilence or dire disease.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Plague, infectious disease, pestilence.
  • n. Any of several highly infectious diseases of cattle such as anthrax.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having, or afflicted with, murrain.
  • n. An infectious and fatal disease among cattle.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A disease affecting domestic animals, especially cattle; a cattle-plague or epizoötic disease of any kind; in a more limited sense, the same as foot-and-mouth disease (which see, under foot).
  • Affected with murrain.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any disease of domestic animals that resembles a plague

Etymologies

Middle English moreine, from Old French morine, from Medieval Latin morina, from Latin morī, to die; see mer- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman mourine, moreyn, Middle French morine, ultimately from a form of Latin mori ("to die"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "A disease affecting domestic animals, especially cattle; a cattle-plague or epizoötic disease of any kind; in a more limited sense, the same as foot-and-mouth disease (which see, under foot)."
    --Century Dictionary

    February 28, 2014

  • "Mrs. Gaddson was there, searching eagerly through her Bible for murrains and agues and emerods."
    Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, p 397

    May 29, 2010

  • "(Enter certain Romans, with spoils.)
    FIRST ROMAN: This will I carry to Rome.
    SECOND ROMAN: And I this.
    THIRD ROMAN: A murrain on't! I took this for silver."
    - William Shakespeare, 'The Tragedy of Coriolanus'.

    August 28, 2009

  • "... a murrain seize the dolt ..."
    Joyce, Ulysses, 14

    January 20, 2007