Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.


 (ĕp′ĭ-dĕm′ĭk) also ep·i·dem·i·cal (-ĭ-kəl)
1. 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.
2. Widely prevalent: epidemic discontent.
1. An outbreak of a contagious disease that spreads rapidly and widely.
2. A rapid spread, growth, or development: an unemployment epidemic.

[French épidémique, from épidémie, an epidemic, from Old French espydymie, from Medieval Latin epidēmia, from Greek epidēmiā, prevalence of an epidemic disease, from epidēmos, prevalent : epi-, epi- + dēmos, people; see dā- in Indo-European roots.]

ep′i·dem′i·cal·ly adv.
References in periodicals archive ?
The numbers are epidemically high: one in five children in Pakistan are sexually abused.
Networked technologies epidemically bolster the public for cyber persecution.
Survival and growth of epidemically successful and nonsuccessful Salmonella enterica clones after freezing and dehydration.
HAdV infection can occur sporadically, endemically, or epidemically and often is influenced by HAdV species and type (4).
Turning scientific racism on its head, Freyre transformed what antecedent theory had seen as negative--the epidemically obvious presence of blacks and Indians, mestizos and caboclos, and the less obvious, more submerged presence of Moors and Sephardis--into a point of national pride.