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Illness vs. Sickness: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Illness generally refers to a state of poor health involving medical conditions, whereas sickness can imply a broader experience of health impairment, including the perception and experience of not feeling well.
Illness vs. Sickness

Key Differences

Illness is often used in a more clinical or medical context, referring to a specific medical condition or disease diagnosed by a healthcare professional. It emphasizes the pathological aspects of being unwell. Sickness, in contrast, can be used more broadly to describe a state of not feeling well, which may not necessarily be linked to a specific diagnosed medical condition.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
In discussing illness, there's often an implication of a diagnosable medical condition with specific symptoms and treatment options. It's typically used in a context where medical intervention is involved. Sickness, on the other hand, can refer to a general state of health, including feeling unwell due to factors like fatigue, stress, or short-term viral infections.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
The term illness carries a more formal and specific connotation, often linked to a particular set of symptoms or a medical diagnosis. It is used in medical records and discussions about health care. Sickness, however, can be used more informally and can even encompass feelings of nausea or general unwellness, which may not be associated with a specific medical condition.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
Illness can be chronic or acute, but it is always related to a medical condition or disease process. Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or heart disease, are long-term conditions. Sickness can be used to describe a temporary condition, such as a cold or flu, or even a general feeling of unwellness without a long-term or chronic aspect.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
In summary, while illness is a term used mainly in the medical and clinical realm to describe a diagnosed health condition, sickness is a more general term that can refer to any feeling of being unwell, whether or not it is related to a diagnosed medical condition.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Context

Medical, clinical.
General, including non-medical contexts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Connotation

Specific diagnosed conditions.
General feeling of unwellness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Usage

Formal, often in medical records.
Informal, broader usage.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Duration

Can be chronic or acute.
Often implies a temporary state.
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Nov 29, 2023

Scope

Specific symptoms and treatment.
Can include feelings like nausea or fatigue.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
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Illness and Sickness Definitions

Illness

A disease or period of sickness affecting the body or mind.
The community health program focuses on preventing chronic illnesses.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Sickness

A particular disease or ailment.
The sickness spreading through the school was identified as influenza.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Illness

A condition of being unwell due to a specific medical cause.
The doctor confirmed that the patient's illness was treatable.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Sickness

A general term for illness or poor health.
Health insurance policies cover a variety of sicknesses.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Illness

Poor health resulting from disease of body or mind; sickness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023
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Sickness

The feeling or condition of physical or mental unwellness.
His sickness was apparent from his pale complexion.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Illness

A disease.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sickness

The state of being ill or unwell.
She took a day off due to sickness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Illness

The quality of being disagreeable or unpleasant.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sickness

The condition of being sick; illness.
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Oct 19, 2023

Illness

Evil; wickedness.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sickness

A disease; a malady.
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Oct 19, 2023

Illness

(countable) An instance of a disease or poor health.
Her grandmother had passed away after a long illness.
Suffer form a severe illness
A mild illness
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Oct 19, 2023

Sickness

Nausea.
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Oct 19, 2023

Illness

(uncountable) A state of bad health or disease.
Many working days this year have been lost through illness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sickness

A defective or unsound condition.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Illness

The condition of being ill, evil, or bad; badness; unfavorableness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sickness

The quality or state of being sick or diseased; illness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Illness

Disease; indisposition; malady; disorder of health; sickness; as, a short or a severe illness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sickness

Nausea; qualmishness; as, sickness of stomach.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Illness

Wrong moral conduct; wickedness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sickness

(linguistics) The analogical misuse of a rarer or marked grammatical case in the place of a more common or unmarked case.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Illness

Impairment of normal physiological function affecting part or all of an organism
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sickness

The quality or state of being sick or diseased; illness; sisease or malady.
I do lament the sickness of the king.
Trust not too much your now resistless charms;Those, age or sickness soon or late disarms.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Illness

A medical condition affecting the body or mind.
Her illness was diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Sickness

Nausea; qualmishness; as, sickness of stomach.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Illness

An abnormal state affecting the body or mind, often characterized by specific symptoms.
He managed his illness with medication and lifestyle changes.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Sickness

Impairment of normal physiological function affecting part or all of an organism
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Illness

A pathological condition manifesting symptoms and affecting the body or mind.
Research is ongoing to find a cure for this rare illness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Sickness

The state that precedes vomiting
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Oct 19, 2023

Sickness

A condition of nausea or the urge to vomit.
Morning sickness is common during the first trimester of pregnancy.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is sickness?

A general term for feeling unwell or ill.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

What is illness?

A medical condition affecting body or mind with specific symptoms.
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Nov 29, 2023

How is illness diagnosed?

Through medical examination and tests by healthcare professionals.
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Nov 29, 2023

Can you have sickness without illness?

Yes, as sickness can refer to a general feeling of unwellness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Are all illnesses chronic?

No, illnesses can be either chronic or acute.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Is sickness always due to infection?

Not necessarily; it can be due to various factors including stress or fatigue.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Can sickness be a symptom?

Yes, sickness can be a symptom of an underlying illness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Can illness be psychological?

Yes, mental health conditions are also considered illnesses.
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Nov 29, 2023

Is treatment necessary for every illness?

It depends on the nature and severity of the illness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Is nausea always a sign of sickness?

Nausea is a common symptom but doesn't always indicate sickness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Do chronic illnesses have cures?

Some do, while others are managed through treatment.
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Nov 29, 2023

Are antibiotics effective for all illnesses?

No, only for bacterial infections, not viral illnesses.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

What's the difference in treatment for illness vs. sickness?

Treatment for illness is specific to the condition, while for general sickness, it may be more about symptom relief.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Are vaccines used for illness or sickness?

Vaccines are primarily used to prevent specific illnesses.
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Nov 29, 2023

Can illness be prevented?

Some illnesses can be prevented with vaccines and healthy lifestyles.
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Nov 29, 2023

What causes sickness?

Various factors, including infections, stress, and dietary issues.
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Nov 29, 2023

Can lifestyle impact sickness?

Yes, lifestyle choices can influence the likelihood of sickness.
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Nov 29, 2023

Is it possible to have no symptoms but still be ill?

Yes, some illnesses are asymptomatic.
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Nov 29, 2023

Can mental stress cause sickness?

Yes, stress can manifest as physical sickness.
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Nov 29, 2023

Can sickness be psychological?

Yes, psychological factors can contribute to feelings of sickness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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