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adjective ep·i·dem·ic \ˌe-pə-ˈde-mik\

Definition of epidemic

  1. 1 :  affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time <typhoid was epidemic>

  2. 2 a :  excessively prevalent b :  contagious 4 <epidemic laughter>

  3. 3 :  characterized by very widespread growth or extent :  of, relating to, or constituting an epidemic <the practice had reached epidemic proportions>

epidemical play \-ˈde-mi-kəl\ adjective
epidemically play \-ˈde-mi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
epidemicity play \-də-ˈmi-sə-tē\ noun

Examples of epidemic in a sentence

  1. Overuse injuries—particularly in the elbows and shoulders of young pitchers—are indeed becoming epidemic. Orthopedists often blame coaches and parents for failing to monitor how many pitches kids are throwing and for not giving them time to rest their arms. —Sara Corbett, New York Times Sports Magazine, June 2006

  2. The dream of running off to live the good life in a postcard perfect town in the mountains or by the sea often reaches epidemic proportions near the end of summer. —John Rasmus, National Geographic, September 2004

  3. Saturday Night Fever propelled disco fever to epidemic proportions: By 1978, 40 percent of all the music on Billboard's Hot 100 was disco. —Peter Braunstein, American Heritage, November 1999

  4. <the little girl's giggles were epidemic, and soon the entire gathering was laughing>

Origin of epidemic

French épidémique, from Middle French, from epidemie, noun, epidemic, from Late Latin epidemia, from Greek epidēmia visit, epidemic, from epidēmos visiting, epidemic, from epi- + dēmos people — more at demagogue

First Known Use: 1603

Rhymes with epidemic



noun ep·i·dem·ic \ˌe-pə-ˈde-mik\

Simple Definition of epidemic

  • medical : an occurrence in which a disease spreads very quickly and affects a large number of people

  • : a sudden quickly spreading occurrence of something harmful or unwanted

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of epidemic

  1. 1 :  an outbreak of disease that spreads quickly and affects many individuals at the same time :  an outbreak of epidemic disease

  2. 2 :  an outbreak or product of sudden rapid spread, growth, or development <an epidemic of bankruptcies>

Examples of epidemic in a sentence

  1. Cosmetic surgery is now so prevalent that it could qualify as a national epidemic. —Toni Bentley, New York Times Book Review, 22 Oct. 2006

  2. “Spim,” as people are beginning to call unsolicited instant messages, is the latest installment in the growing epidemic of unwanted electronic ads and a further sign that unscrupulous online marketers will seek to take advantage of all of the Internet's communication tools, not limiting themselves to spam or pop-up ads. —David McGuire, www.washingtonpost.com, 13 Nov. 2003

  3. Whatever might have motivated Kennedy to put [Ian] Fleming on his list, from that point, Bond became an international obsession. When the first Bond film appeared in 1962—Dr. No—the obsession was a full-blown craze, a cultural epidemic. —Gerald Early, New Letters, 1999

Origin of epidemic

(see 1epidemic)

First Known Use: 1757

EPIDEMIC Defined for Kids



noun ep·i·dem·ic \ˌe-pə-ˈde-mik\

Definition of epidemic for Students

  1. 1 :  a rapidly spreading outbreak of disease

  2. 2 :  something harmful that spreads or develops rapidly <a crime epidemic>



adjective ep·i·dem·ic

Definition of epidemic for Students

  1. :  spreading widely and affecting many people at the same time <an epidemic disease>

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