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Definition of "epidemic" []

  • Spreading rapidly and extensively by infection and affecting many individuals in an area or a population at the same time: an epidemic outbreak of influenza. (adjective)
  • Widely prevalent: epidemic discontent. (adjective)
  • An outbreak of a contagious disease that spreads rapidly and widely. (noun)
  • A rapid spread, growth, or development: an unemployment epidemic. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "epidemic" in a sentence
  • "While I've argued plenty of times before about the media's irrepressibly giddy lust for slapping the term "epidemic" on any and every problem that effects a large enough group, there are far too many obscenely overweight people across this great land of ours, and if you think it's simply a personal decision that affects no one but them and the Wal-Mart scooters whose suspension systems they push to the point of collapse, think again."
  • "Authorities in Mexico, where 40 more deaths are suspected to have resulted from the disease, and some 1,000 patients are under observation, are already using the term epidemic, but the WHO has not yet gone so far."
  • "Mr. Vance criticized what he called an epidemic of "greed and corruption" that imposes "a hidden billion-dollar-a-year-tax on New York City's construction industry.""