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.
extremely prevalent; widespread.
a temporary prevalence of a disease.
a rapid spread or increase in the occurrence of something: an epidemic of riots.

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)
1.  (esp of a disease) attacking or affecting many persons simultaneously in a community or area
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]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

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)
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.

epidemicity ep·i·de·mic·i·ty (ěp'ĭ-də-mĭs'ĭ-tē)
The ability to spread from one host to others; the state of being epidemic.

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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