Illness, sickness, disease, virus

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Fighterina, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. Fighterina

    Fighterina Member

    Hi everybody,

    I would like to explore with you the meaning of the following terms which I consider to be quite similar if not synonyms.

    Here they are...





    Hope u can help me clarify the difference.

    Thank you very much.
  2. debboa Senior Member

    Genova, Italia
    Italia, Italiano
    I try:

    - Illness: stato di malessere dovuto a malattia, stato comunque "diagnosticato" e di una certa rilevanza
    - Sickness: stato malessere temporaneo, piu' "sintomo" che malattia vera e propria (es mal di testa)
    - Disease: la malattia vera e propria; spesso con "nome e cognome" (heart disease, o <Nome dello scopritore> disease
    -Virus: beh, uno dei modi per beccarsi una disease, che a sua volta ti provoca Illness!!!

    Ma, naturalmente, aspetta i madrelingua!
  3. Hermocrates Senior Member

    Italian & British English (bilingual)
    Uhm, they are related terms, indeed, but not quite the same.

    Virus in particular is the least similar to the others. A virus is the simplest kind of life form (it is actually debated whether a virus is "alive" or not). In order to grow and reproduce it needs a host cell. So a virus will typically infect a host in order to survive. A virus is not an illness or disease, but can cause one when it infects a host organism.

    You can read more about viruses here (Wikipedia - ITA)

    Sickness is a generic term referring to a condition you experience when do not feel "quite well". Sickness may refer to being nauseated (e.g. motion sickness) or just being unwell because you are ill or tired.

    Illness is very similar to disease, and probably a professional can better describe the difference between the two terms. But anyway, in everyday speech a disease is typically perceived as a problem more serious or incurable (e.g. a genetic disease). While an illness, on the other hand, is simply the cause of a temporary state of ill health (e.g. the flu).
  4. Leo Guelphus

    Leo Guelphus Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian - Marchigiano
    I agree!
  5. winegrower Senior Member

    If we count out virus (which is different) and disease (which is generally used by professionals), the problem, if any, is between sickness and illness. Personally, I believe they are basically synonymous, maybe with slight differences.
    Somehow, I think that illness is more popular in the UK and sickness in the US, but maybe I'm talking nonsense.
  6. nrossella Member

    Parlando di statistiche correlate alla gestione del persone all'interno di un'azienda, ci siamo trovati di fronte alla seguente distinzione: diseases or illness. Ma, non vogliono dire la stessa cosa?
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2010
  7. ALEX1981X Senior Member


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