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epidemic

[ep-i-dem-ik] /ˌɛp ɪˈdɛm ɪk/
adjective
1.
Also, epidemical. (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.
2.
extremely prevalent; widespread.
noun
3.
a temporary prevalence of a disease.
4.
a rapid spread or increase in the occurrence of something:
an epidemic of riots.
Origin
1595-1605
1595-1605; obsolete epidem(y) (< Late Latin epidēmia < Greek epidēmía staying in one place, among the people, equivalent to epi- epi- + dêm(os) people of a district + -ia -y3) + -ic
Related forms
epidemically, adverb
epidemicity
[ep-i-duh-mis-i-tee] /ˌɛp ɪ dəˈmɪs ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
noun
interepidemic, adjective
preepidemic, noun, adjective
Can be confused
endemic, epidemic, pandemic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for epidemic
  • Water stagnating in the holes will shortly add the peril of epidemic disease.
  • Brill-Zinsser disease is a mild form of epidemic typhus.
  • Heart disease, alcohol consumption, and tuberculosis are epidemic.
  • Disaster of this magnitude suggests epidemic disease.
  • There is an epidemic growning in our culture.
  • The latest estimate is both good and bad news reflecting the success of drugs and the failure to curb the epidemic.
  • Various groups have posed possible solutions to the country's obesity epidemic.
  • In any epidemic, it's always difficult to trace the virus to its source.
  • It's getting to be an epidemic.
  • The download epidemic has killed record sales.
British Dictionary definitions for epidemic

epidemic

/ˌɛpɪˈdɛmɪk/
adjective
1.
(esp of a disease) attacking or affecting many persons simultaneously in a community or area
noun
2.
a widespread occurrence of a disease: an influenza epidemic
3.
a rapid development, spread, or growth of something, esp something unpleasant: an epidemic of strikes
Derived Forms
epidemically, adverb
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for epidemic
adj.

c.1600, from French épidémique, from épidemié "an epidemic disease," from Medieval Latin epidemia, from Greek epidemia "prevalence of an epidemic disease" (especially the plague), from epi "among, upon" (see epi-) + demos "people, district" (see demotic).

n.

1757, from epidemic (adj.); earlier epideme (see epidemy). An Old English noun for this (persisting in Middle English) was man-cwealm.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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epidemic in Medicine

epidemic ep·i·dem·ic (ěp'ĭ-děm'ĭk) or ep·i·dem·i·cal (-ĭ-kəl)
adj.
Spreading rapidly and extensively by infection and affecting many individuals in an area or a population at the same time, as of a disease or illness. n.
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.
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epidemic in Science
epidemic
  (ěp'ĭ-děm'ĭk)   
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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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epidemic in Culture

epidemic definition


A contagious disease that spreads rapidly and widely among the population in an area. Immunization and quarantine are two of the methods used to control an epidemic.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for epidemic

an occurrence of disease that is temporarily of high prevalence. An epidemic occurring over a wide geographical area (e.g., worldwide) is called a pandemic. The rise and decline in epidemic prevalence of an infectious disease is a probability phenomenon dependent upon transfer of an effective dose of the infectious agent from an infected individual to a susceptible one. After an epidemic has subsided, the affected host population contains a sufficiently small proportion of susceptible individuals that reintroduction of the infection will not result in a new epidemic. Since the parasite population cannot reproduce itself in such a host population, the host population as a whole is immune to the epidemic disease, a phenomenon termed herd immunity.

Learn more about epidemic with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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