Definition of epizootic in US English:



  • Denoting or relating to a disease that is temporarily prevalent and widespread in an animal population.

    ‘epizootic diseases in domestic livestock’
    • ‘Transport to the nearest high-risk material processing plant of animals infected or suspected of being infected with an epizootic disease is rejected because of the danger of propagation of health risks.’
    • ‘‘To date, our country has remained vigilant and successful in keeping out many epizootic diseases that have occurred in some parts of the SADC region,’ said the head of state.’
    • ‘If a commercial breed were to be hit by a devastating epizootic disease, the genes of a hardy rare breed could be used to help re-establish the immunity of a commercial one.’
    • ‘Our results show distinctive and predictable temporal patterning to epizootic rabies occurring among raccoons at the level of counties.’
    • ‘It occurs most frequently as an epizootic or enzootic disease of herbivores that acquire spores from direct contact with contaminated soil.’
    rife, rampant, widespread, wide-ranging, extensive, sweeping, penetrating, pervading
    View synonyms


  • An outbreak of an epizootic disease.

    ‘a global epizootic of H5N1 bird flu’
    • ‘Several epizootics in wildlife have been associated with elevated exposure to contaminants.’
    • ‘In 1985 the last wild population experienced simultaneous epizootics of canine distemper and sylvatic plague.’
    • ‘Dynamics of periodic disease epizootics, low reproductive rates, and avian dispersal may contribute to rarity in many Hawaiian forest bird species.’
    • ‘Several epizootics have been associated with elevated contaminant exposure.’
    • ‘That is, epizootics, such as outbreaks of cattle plague or foot and mouth disease, repeatedly have wreaked economic havoc without making people sick.’


Late 18th century (as an adjective): from French épizootique, from épizootie, from Greek epi ‘upon’ + zōion ‘animal’.