1

epidemic

adjective ep·i·dem·ic \ ˌe-pə-ˈde-mik \
Updated on: 16 Apr 2018

Definition of epidemic

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 a : excessively prevalent
b : contagious 4
  • epidemic laughter
3 : characterized by very widespread growth or extent : of, relating to, or constituting an epidemic
  • the practice had reached epidemic proportions

epidemical

play \ˌe-pə-ˈde-mi-kəl\ adjective

epidemically

play \ˌe-pə-ˈde-mi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

epidemicity

play \ˌe-pə-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 CorbettNew York Times Sports MagazineJune 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 RasmusNational GeographicSeptember 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 BraunsteinAmerican HeritageNovember 1999
  4. the little girl's giggles were epidemic, and soon the entire gathering was laughing

Recent Examples of epidemic from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epidemic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of epidemic

borrowed from French épidémique, going back to Middle French, from epidemie "disease affecting a large number of individuals" + -ique 1-ic; Middle French epidemie, earlier epydimie, borrowed from Medieval Latin epidēmia, derivative (from feminine singular or neuter plural) of Latin Latin epidēmius "widespread, prevalent (of a disease)," borrowed from Greek epidḗmios "within the country, among the people, prevalent (of a disease)," from epi- epi- + -dēmios, adjective derivative of dêmos "district, country, people" — more at demo-
Note: The notion that the word epidemic (adjective or noun) is owed directly to Hippocrates—or is, to put it more circumspectly, part of the Hippocratic Corpus—is somewhat illusory, a product of the words used in English translations. For example, in W. H. S. Jones' translation of De aere aquis et locis (Loeb Classical Library, 1923), the following passage (4.32-34) implies a distinction between "endemic" and "epidemic": "For men these diseases are endemic, besides there are epidemic diseases which may prevail through the change of the seasons." In the Greek text, however, "endemic diseases" are nosḗmata epichōría "illnesses of the country, native illnesses," while "epidemic diseases" translates ti pánkoinon, literally, "something common," i.e., "common or general diseases." Derivatives based on epi- and dêmos can be found in the Hippocratic texts (e.g., "Kaì gàr állōs tò nósēma epídēmon ên," Epidemics 1.14; "Tà mèn epidēmḗsanta nosḗmata taûta," Epidemics 3.3), though epídēmon means simply "common, prevalent," and epidēmḗsanta "having become prevalent." The title Epidḗmia, conventionally translated "Epidemics," for the works in the Hippocratic Corpus dealing with seasonal diseases and case histories, is presumably post-classical.

2

epidemic

noun ep·i·dem·ic \ ˌe-pə-ˈde-mik \

Definition of epidemic

1 : an outbreak of disease that spreads quickly and affects many individuals at the same time : an outbreak of epidemic disease
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 BentleyNew York Times Book Review22 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 McGuirewww.washingtonpost.com13 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 EarlyNew Letters1999

Recent Examples of epidemic from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epidemic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of epidemic

noun derivative of 1epidemic

EPIDEMIC Defined for English Language Learners

epidemic

Definition of epidemic for English Language Learners

  • 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


EPIDEMIC Defined for Kids

1

epidemic

noun ep·i·dem·ic \ ˌe-pə-ˈde-mik \

Definition of epidemic for Students

1 : a rapidly spreading outbreak of disease
2 : something harmful that spreads or develops rapidly
  • a crime epidemic

2

epidemic

adjective

Definition of epidemic for Students

: spreading widely and affecting many people at the same time
  • an epidemic disease

Medical Dictionary

1

epidemic

adjective ep·i·dem·ic \ ˌep-ə-ˈdem-ik \
variants: also epidemical play \-i-kəl\

medical Definition of epidemic

1 : affecting or tending to affect an atypically large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time
  • typhoid was epidemic
— compare endemic, sporadic 1
2 : of, relating to, or constituting an epidemic
  • coronary disease…has hit epidemic proportions
  • —Herbert Ratner

epidemically

play \-i-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

2

epidemic

noun

medical Definition of epidemic

1 : an outbreak of epidemic disease
2 : a natural population (as of insects) suddenly and greatly enlarged


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