Definition of epidemic noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˌepɪˈdemɪk//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˌepɪˈdemɪk//
    Ailments and diseases, Being ill
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  1. 1a large number of cases of a particular disease happening at the same time in a particular community the outbreak of a flu epidemic an epidemic of measles Effectively, tobacco companies will be exporting an epidemic of smoking-related diseases, the campaign suggests. Wordfinderbacteria, disease, epidemic, fever, illness, immunity, infection, spread, vaccinate, virus See related entries: Ailments and diseases, Being ill
  2. 2a sudden rapid increase in how often something bad happens an epidemic of crime in the inner cities
  3. Word Originearly 17th cent. (as an adjective): from French épidémique, from épidémie, via late Latin from Greek epidēmia ‘prevalence of disease’, from epidēmios ‘prevalent’, from epi ‘upon’ + dēmos ‘the people’.Extra examples Marriage breakdown in the West has reached epidemic proportions. Over fifty people died during the flu epidemic last winter. an epidemic of cholera the flu epidemic sweeping the country A recent report describes an epidemic of crime in the inner cities. An epidemic of measles broke out, and over 200 children died. Car theft is now reaching epidemic proportions. The worst flu epidemic for 14 years is sweeping the country.

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