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From French épidémique, from épidémie, from Latin epidemia, from Ancient Greek ἐπιδήμιος ‎(epidḗmios), from ἐπί ‎(epí, upon) + δῆμος ‎(dêmos, people).


epidemic ‎(plural epidemics)

  1. A widespread disease that affects many individuals in a population.
  2. (epidemiology) An occurrence of a disease or disorder in a population at a frequency higher than that expected in a given time period.



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epidemic ‎(comparative more epidemic, superlative most epidemic)

  1. Like or having to do with an epidemic; widespread
    Epidemic hysteria occurred upon the incumbent’s reelection.
    • 1852, Annals of influenza or epidemic catarrhal fever in Great Britain, page 76:
      [In] May, there was, at London and in its neighbourhood, a disease very epidemic, though not fatal, which had some time before been very prevalent both in Italy and Germany.
    • 1986, Gerald F. Pyle, The Diffusion of Influenza: Patterns and Paradigms (ISBN 0847674290), page 123:
      The major reason for such an examination was to determine if any patterns uncovered seemed to be more epidemic than endemic.
    • 2003, James C. Howell, Preventing & Reducing Juvenile Delinquency: A Comprehensive Framework, SAGE Publications, ISBN 978-0-7619-2509-5, page 19:
      This proportion increased about 5% from 1988 to 1992—hardly a change of epidemic proportions.
    • 2013, Frederick Allen, A Decent, Orderly Lynching: The Montana Vigilantes, page 8:
      This was the stagecoach holdup, and while these encounters were not as epidemic as we like to remember, nonetheless there were numerous bands of "road agents" who lay by the roadside in wait for passengers.



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