- Also ep·i·dem·i·cal. (of a disease) affecting many persons at the same time, and spreading from person to person in a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalent.
- extremely prevalent; widespread.
- a temporary prevalence of a disease.
- a rapid spread or increase in the occurrence of something: an epidemic of riots.
Origin of epidemic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for epidemic
While public interest in Ebola continues to dwindle, the epidemic itself continues to soar.
With a mortality rate of 70 percent, the more cases that arise, the deadlier this epidemic becomes.
Has L.A. figured out how to stop the epidemic it set loose on the world?The Daily Beast’s Best Longreads, Dec 29-Jan 4, 2014
January 4, 2015
In mid-summer, as the epidemic swept through the region, schools closed one by one.The Radio Battle to Educate Ebola’s Kids
December 11, 2014
Rape and sexual assault may be less of an epidemic than other studies suggest.College Girls Are Less Likely to Be Raped Than Non-Students
December 11, 2014
Then, too, when our artist friend was with us we were in the grasp of an epidemic of cholera.Lotus Buds
The antibody could be synthesized and one could attack any epidemic with confidence.Pariah Planet
Only fallin' in love is kind of epidemic down at the boardin' house, I guess.Cy Whittaker's Place
Joseph C. Lincoln
Not a Moon man, on the other hand, had survived the epidemic.
Their expenses were enlarged, as were those of the other families, by an epidemic of smallpox.The Negro Farmer
- (esp of a disease) attacking or affecting many persons simultaneously in a community or area
- a widespread occurrence of a diseasean influenza epidemic
- a rapid development, spread, or growth of something, esp something unpleasantan epidemic of strikes
C17: from French épidémique, via Late Latin from Greek epidēmia literally: among the people, from epi- + dēmos people
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for epidemic
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Spreading rapidly and extensively by infection and affecting many individuals in an area or population at the same time, as of a disease or illness.
- An outbreak or unusually high occurrence of a disease or illness in a population or area.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- An outbreak of a disease or illness that spreads rapidly among individuals in an area or population at the same time. See also endemic pandemic.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.