pandemic

adjective
pan·​dem·​ic | \pan-ˈde-mik \

Definition of pandemic 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population pandemic malaria The 1918 flu was pandemic and claimed millions of lives.

pandemic

noun
pan·​dem·​ic | \pan-ˈde-mik \

Definition of pandemic (Entry 2 of 2)

: an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population : a pandemic outbreak of a disease

Examples of pandemic in a Sentence

Noun

… globalization, the most thoroughgoing socioeconomic upheaval since the Industrial Revolution, which has set off a pandemic of retrogressive nationalism, regional separatism, and religious extremism. — Martin Filler, New York Review of Books, 24 Sept. 2009 … it also hopes to utilize this cultural investigation to better understand strategies to reduce the massive pandemic we now understand cigarette smoking to produce. — Allan M. Brandt, The Cigarette Century, 2007 There is evidence that this gambling pandemic is going global. — Gerri Hirshey, New York Times Magazine, 17 July 1994 In ten years that it raged, this pandemic took or ravaged the lives of nearly five million people before it disappeared, as mysteriously and suddenly as it had arrived, in 1927. — Oliver Sacks, Awakenings, 1973 The 1918 flu pandemic claimed millions of lives.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

America in 2018 is in many respects safer from the pandemic threat than America was in 1918. Ron Klain, Vox, "A pandemic killing tens of millions of people is a real possibility — and we are not prepared for it," 15 Oct. 2018 If a pandemic disease severely affected China or India, where large shares of medicines come from, production could be knocked out or slowed. Smithsonian, "A Saline Shortage This Flu Season Exposes a Flaw in Our Medical Supply Chain," 22 Jan. 2018 This year’s influenza season is a stark reminder of just how important this work is to remove the threat of influenza—seasonal and pandemic—forever. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Commentary: A $12 Million Innovation Prize for a Universal Flu Vaccine," 30 Apr. 2018 Those same factors faced the SOMNIA researchers, who were studying vaccines that contained AS03 but also MF-59, an adjuvant that was included in pandemic vaccines produced by Novartis. Helen Branswell, STAT, "A stubborn medical mystery: Was pandemic flu vaccine tied to an increase in narcolepsy cases?," 5 July 2018 This year’s flu season has killed more children than in any non-pandemic year on record, according to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "A Record-Breaking Number of Kids Died During This Year's Flu Season," 8 June 2018 As the illness reaches pandemic proportions—with hundreds of thousands of cases in the U.S. annually—innovative efforts are under way to confront and contain it. Ginny Graves, Vogue, "Lyme Disease Is Spreading at an Alarming Rate—and This Is Why," 16 May 2018 With each passing day, the threat that an outbreak turns into a pandemic increases. Julia Belluz, Vox, "There’s a new outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.," 11 May 2018 The difference between then and now isn’t just pandemic versus epidemic. Lily Rothman, Time, "The Worst Flu Pandemic of the 20th Century Has an Urgent Lesson for Today," 26 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

What this doesn’t mean is that the world is ready for the next pandemic. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Good news: the Ebola outbreak in DRC is contained," 29 June 2018 The Grand Challenge is exactly that—a challenge to all to bring their ideas to the table to seek a solution to the looming threat of an influenza pandemic. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Commentary: A $12 Million Innovation Prize for a Universal Flu Vaccine," 30 Apr. 2018 This was the beginning in Maryland of what international pandemic? Katie V. Jones, Howard County Times, "Curiosity drives greater understanding of The Great War," 3 May 2018 Innovations around flight and technology, the impact of the influenza pandemic, pacifism, and suffrage are among the threads tying Framingham to WWI. Nancy Shohet West, BostonGlobe.com, "A week of remembrances," 6 Apr. 2018 Boggs' father was a victim of the 1918 flu pandemic. John Pope, NOLA.com, "'Grace was in her DNA, grace was in her steps, and heaven was in her eyes'," 1 Apr. 2018 The last pandemic was spring 2009-fall 2010, when a total of 358 children died from the flu. Todd Ackerman, San Antonio Express-News, "Flu killed nearly 10,000 Texans in 2017-2018," 27 June 2018 Independent and regular monitoring and tracking for epidemic and pandemic risk is key to keeping biological threats on the agenda of global political leaders, experts say. Lena H. Sun, chicagotribune.com, "How prepared is the world for next epidemic? Tool shows most countries are not.," 22 June 2018 Research published last week concluded that the fungus originated in East Asia in the 1900s, and pointed to expanding global trade and the market in exotic pets as likely factors in the pandemic. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Some endangered frogs may be leaping back from extinction," 17 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of pandemic

Adjective

1666, in the meaning defined above

Noun

circa 1853, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pandemic

Adjective

Late Latin pandemus, from Greek pandēmos of all the people, from pan- + dēmos people — more at demagogue

Noun

see pandemic entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pandemic

Statistics for pandemic

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pandemic

The first known use of pandemic was in 1666

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pandemic

pandemic

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pandemic

medical : an occurrence in which a disease spreads very quickly and affects a large number of people over a wide area or throughout the world

pandemic

adjective
pan·​dem·​ic | \pan-ˈdem-ik \

Medical Definition of pandemic 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population pandemic malaria pandemic influenza

pandemic

noun

Medical Definition of pandemic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a pandemic outbreak of a disease

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on pandemic

What made you want to look up pandemic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!