1mass noun Redwater fever or a similar infectious disease affecting cattle or other animals.
2archaic A plague, epidemic, or crop blight.‘There were great murrains, or diseases, of sheep and cattle, which meant that the animals all died, adding to the misery of the starving people.’
- ‘The more mystically-minded clerics and chroniclers may have been confounded in their dire predictions of murrains, pestilence, and the imminent Second Coming.’
- ‘He told him of the plague of the first born, of darkness, of hail and birds, lice, frogs, flies, the plague of blood, the plague of murrain - one plague for each day.’
- ‘Crop failures in 1315, 1316, and 1321, largely due to exceptionally wet summers, overlapped with catastrophic losses of animals as disease - ‘murrain’ - devastated the nation's sheep flocks between 1313 and 1317 and its cattle 1319-21.’
- 2.1The potato blight during the Irish famine in the mid 19th century.
Late Middle English from Old French morine, based on Latin mori ‘to die’.
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