Definition of pandemic in US English:



  • (of a disease) prevalent over a whole country or the world.

    • ‘Mr Abbott today announced that the government would speed up funding for research into pandemic influenza.’
    • ‘The effectiveness of antivirals in the treatment of pandemic influenza is unclear.’
    • ‘Film has become a pandemic obsession throughout our culture and even throughout the world.’
    • ‘The idea that this flu could reach pandemic proportions is a chilling thought.’
    • ‘They appear to have reached pandemic status within urban areas and a cull is long overdue.’
    • ‘Sars has revealed much about the way a pandemic illness can affect modern society - with massive consequences.’
    • ‘Most topical is the risk of pandemic influenza, which seems to be the highest in three decades.’
    • ‘The Department of Health will also announce its revised pandemic flu contingency plan this week.’
    • ‘Even if nations vaccinate their entire populations, they will not remain immune to the pandemic shock.’
    • ‘The factors involved in the genesis of each pandemic virus are probably different.’
    • ‘History has shown that pandemic strains of influenza viruses emerge as reassortants of human and avian viruses.’
    • ‘But pandemic influenza, appearing every few decades, has much more devastating consequences.’
    • ‘It is not our principles that have spawned pandemic hatred of America in the Islamic world.’
    • ‘It depends on what percentage of the population gets a pandemic flu strain.’
    • ‘The arrival of a pandemic influenza would trigger a reaction that would change the world overnight.’
    • ‘Imagine if you will you were a government which was aware of a global pandemic flu in the offing.’
    • ‘It is a remarkable achievement which increases Britain's ability to cope with pandemic flu, should it happen.’
    • ‘So why have British health authorities decided to launch a pandemic flu panic in Britain?’
    • ‘Companies should prepare for a pandemic flu the way they would for a blizzard.’
    • ‘This argues for the need to look at other ways to respond to a new flu strain which has pandemic potential.’
    widespread, prevalent, pervasive, rife, rampant, epidemic
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  • An outbreak of a pandemic disease.

    • ‘It is a small effort worth making if we want to avoid a descent into widespread anarchy, terrorism, pandemics of global disease, and other avoidable calamities.’
    • ‘This poses the threat as external to France, in the same way that immigration, organised crime, disease pandemics and global warming are all feared as terrible external threats.’
    • ‘The European settling of the Americas brought disease pandemics to the Native Americans that nearly eliminated them as an ethnic classification.’
    • ‘Women also face severe constraints because of outbreak of pandemics like HIV / AIDS and other diseases.’
    • ‘Since the start of the pandemic two decades ago, 17 million Africans have died of it.’
    • ‘It will say that if a widely anticipated European flu pandemic hits, unhygienic doctors will contribute to the spread of the virus.’
    • ‘Is the Canadian plan to deal with the bird flu pandemic similar to that outlined by the president today?’
    • ‘Two highly contagious enteroviruses are known to cause epidemics and pandemics of acute haemorrhagic conjunctivitis.’
    • ‘Last year, following a simulated exercise, the Ministry of Health developed a national pandemic plan.’
    • ‘Humans have lived with influenza viruses for centuries and we thought we knew all about their inter-host transmissions, antigenic shift, drift, epidemics, pandemics and vaccines.’
    • ‘Scotland will be hit by a deadly strain of the bird flu virus within three weeks of a pandemic starting in Asia, Scotland's top doctor has warned.’
    • ‘In countries afflicted by epidemics and pandemics like HIV / AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, growth and development will be threatened until these scourges can be contained.’
    • ‘It is to be hoped that they are available before the next pandemic strikes.’
    • ‘There is, however, going to be another influenza pandemic some time soon.’
    • ‘In the case of the avian flu pandemic threat, millions of lives are potentially at stake.’
    • ‘Influenza epidemics and pandemics spread rapidly causing a high degree of morbidity and mortality.’
    • ‘Don't expect to be able to buy most of these things when the pandemic starts.’
    • ‘Influenza viruses cause frequent epidemics and periodic pandemics throughout the world due to antigenic variations.’
    • ‘Let's hope that this virus does not mutate and create a worldwide pandemic this winter.’
    • ‘Influenza pandemics are global outbreaks that emerge infrequently and unpredictably and involve strains of virus to which humans have little or no immunity.’
    disease, sickness
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On the difference between pandemic, endemic, and epidemic, see epidemic


Mid 17th century: from Greek pandēmos (from pan ‘all’ + dēmos ‘people’) + -ic.