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Definition of disease:  capable of being transmitted by infection

More rarely, communicable can mean that something is easily communicated or capable of being communicated.
  • It is a communicable disease.
  • Misery is a communicable disease.
    Martha Graham
  • A blessing beyond appreciation would be conferred upon mankind, if the tainted, in whose weakness or wickedness these virulent disorders are bred, could be instantly seized and placed in close confinement ... before the poison is communicable.
    Charles Dickens  --  Little Dorrit
  • When an epidemic of mumps broke out in the school, Katie went into action against communicable diseases.
    Betty Smith  --  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  • None of the English people knew of this, nor did the chauffeur; it was a racial secret communicable more by blood than speech.
    E.M. Forster  --  A Passage to India
  • Good Can Be as Communicable as Evil.
    Jay Allison, et al.  --  This I Believe
  • FINDINGS: No histologic or immunologic evidence for any communicable disease in man in this Basiliscus amoratus sample.
    Michael Crichton  --  Jurassic Park
  • He reached across her-noticing that she nearly lost her balance trying to lean back, as if he had a communicable disease-and pushed the red Emergency button.
    Jodi Picoult  --  Nineteen Minutes
  • "Rarely do chronic conditions such as obesity," the CDC scientists observed, "spread with the speed and dispersion characteristic of a communicable disease epidemic."
    Eric Schlosser  --  Fast Food Nation
  • Once established before the grate, and consoling himself for the inadequacy of the dinner by the perfection of his cigar, Mr. Jackson became portentous and communicable.
    Edith Wharton  --  The Age of Innocence
  • But I swear to you that I had a perfectly communicable little vision of truth (lamb-chop division) this afternoon the very instant that child told me her boy friends' names were Bobby and Dorothy.
    J.D. Salinger  --  Franny and Zooey
  • So long as they subscribed to it completely, their happiness was his preoccupation, but at the first flicker of doubt as to its all-inclusiveness he evaporated before their eyes, leaving little communicable memory of what he had said or done.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  Tender is the Night
  • He had really seen no communicable ground for suspecting any ususual feeling between Stephen and Maggie; his own reason told him so, and he wanted to go home at once that he might reflect coolly on these false images, till he had convinced himself of their nullity.
    George Eliot  --  The Mill on the Floss
  • A blessing beyond appreciation would be conferred upon mankind, if the tainted, in whose weakness or wickedness these virulent disorders are bred, could be instantly seized and placed in close confinement (not to say summarily smothered) before the poison is communicable.
    Charles Dickens  --  Little Dorrit
  • Whereas the truths of science are communicable, being demonstrable hypotheses rationally founded on observable facts, ritual, mythology, and metaphysics are but guides to the brink of a transcendent illumination, the final step to which must be taken by each in his own silent experience.
    Joseph Campbell  --  The Hero With a Thousand Faces
  • With a favor to ask we review our list of friends, do justice to their more amiable qualities, forgive their little offenses, and concerning each in turn, try to arrive at the conclusion that he will be eager to oblige us, our own eagerness to be obliged being as communicable as other warmth.
    George Eliot  --  Middlemarch
  • So I went on for some days cutting and hewing timber, and also studs and rafters, all with my narrow axe, not having many communicable or scholar-like thoughts, singing to myself,— Men say they know many things; But lo! they have taken wings— The arts and sciences, And a thousand appliances; The wind that blows Is all that any body knows.
    Henry David Thoreau  --  Walden
  • Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve To glorify the Maker, and infer Thee also happier, shall not be withheld Thy hearing; such commission from above I have received, to answer thy desire Of knowledge within bounds; beyond, abstain To ask; nor let thine own inventions hope Things not revealed, which the invisible King, Only Omniscient, hath suppressed in night; To none communicable in Earth or Heaven: Enough is left besides to search and know.
    John Milton  --  Paradise Lost
  • GEORGE (At NICK, not to him): You take the trouble to construct a civilization .... to .... to build a society, based on the principles of .... of principle .... you endeavor to make communicable sense out of natural order, morality out of the unnatural disorder of man's mind .... you make government and art, and realize that they are, must be, both the same .... you bring things to the saddest of all points .... to the point where there is something to lose .... then all at once, through all the...
    Edward Albee  --  Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Whatever we had missed, we possessed together the precious, the incommunicable past.
    Willa Cather  --  My Antonia
(Editor's note:  The prefix "in-" in incommunicable means not and reverses the meaning of communicable. This is the same pattern you see in words like invisible, incomplete, and insecure.)

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