General English


  • noun an infectious disease that spreads quickly through a large part of the population
  • noun a rapidly spreading infection or disease.


  • noun an outbreak of an infectious disease that spreads very quickly and affects a large number of people

Health Economics

  • (written as Epidemic)
    A rapid increase in the prevalence of a disease. High levels of an infection.

Origin & History of “epidemic”

An epidemic is literally something that has an effect ‘among the people’. The word comes from French épidémique, a derivative of the noun épidémie, which goes back via late Latin epidēmia to Greek epidēmíā ‘disease prevalent among the people’. this was a noun use of epidḗmios, a compound adjective formed from the prefix epí- ‘among’ and demos ‘people’ (source of English democracy).