epidemic

[ep-i-dem-ik]
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; 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

epidemically, adverb
epidemicity [ep-i-duh-mis-i-tee] , noun
interepidemic, adjective
preepidemic, noun, adjective

endemic, epidemic, pandemic.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
epidemic (ˌɛpɪˈdɛmɪk)
 
adj
1.  (esp of a disease) attacking or affecting many persons simultaneously in a community or area
 
n
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
 
[C17: from French épidémique, via Late Latin from Greek epidēmia literally: among the people, from epi- + dēmos people]
 
epi'demically
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

epidemic
c.1600, from Fr. épidémique, from épidemié "an epidemic disease," from M.L. epidemia, from Gk. epidemia "prevalence of an epidemic disease" (especially the plague), from epi- "among, upon" + demos "people, district" (see demotic).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
epidemic  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (ěp'ĭ-děm'ĭk)  Pronunciation Key 
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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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 Britannica
Encyclopedia

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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Example sentences
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.
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