See also: epizoötic


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From French épizootique, animal equivalent of epidemic, from épizootie, irregularly formed from Ancient Greek ἐπί (epí) + ζῷον (zôion, animal). Surface analysis, epi- +‎ zo- +‎ -otic. Use of the word in the second sense, "an ailment", was likely originally a reference to a particular epizootic ailment.[1][2] Both senses are attested since at least the 1800s, and the pronunciation with five syllables is explicitly attested since then as well.[3][4] Dialectal pronunciation of the second sense with four syllables is attested since at least the 1910s in spellings like "epizudic" and is suggested by 1870s references to a shortened form of the word, "zooty"[1].


  • IPA(key): /ɛpɪ.zəˈwɒtɪk/, /ɛpɪ.zoʊˈɒtɪk/[3][4]
    • (file)
  • (dialectal, especially in the sense ‘an ailment’) IPA(key): /ɛpɪˈzuːdɪk/


epizootic (plural epizootics)

  1. (epidemiology) An occurrence of a disease or disorder in a population of non-human animals at a frequency higher than that expected in a given time period. Compare epidemic.
    At the same time as an epidemic of the flu broke out among the people, an epizootic of the swine flu broke out among their pigs.
    • 1901 July 5, H. Watkins-Pitchford, “The Umvoti Outbreak”, in The Agricultural Journal and Mining Record[1], volume 4, number 9, page 247:
      [] but it can be asserted with confidence that Natal will for some years yet be free from the possibility of an invasion of the disease to the same degree as the epizootic of 1896 and 1897.
  2. A particular epizootic disease.
    • 1856, On the epizootic lately affecting lambs, in The Veterinarian; or Monthly Journal of Veterinary Science for 1856, volume XXIX-II, fourth series, edited by Morton and Simonds, page 450:
      A surgeon in the town has also informed me, that a person requested him to prescribe for some lambs affected with the epizootic, and he gave them Epsom salts and opium, with, as he said, very good effect.
  3. (dialectal, humorous, often in the plural) A disease or ailment (of humans).
    Johnny's not doing so well today, I think he caught the epizootic.
    • 1873, Jeramiah Juniur Blows His Bugle, in Gem of the West and Soldiers' Friend, seventh year, January 1873, page 378:
      Last fall, when Dad had the Epizootic; no, I don't mean that, tho I did think he had em, but when the Chicargar hosses got the Epizootic, Dad got all fired mad caus that xpressman didn't cum round to move the rest of our traps.
    • 1977, Dear Sammy: Letters from Getrude Stein and Alice Toklas, edited by Samuel M. Steward, page 237:
      Never do I have colds — but I got the epizootics(?) and sneezed my head off — twenty three times yesterday.
    • 1986, Geneva Bair Wilson, As the Anvil Rings, page 78:
      "My Laws, Minnie! She's got spots! I guess you've got the epizootics."
    • 1998, David Pietrusza, Judge and Jury, the life and times of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, page 348:
      Then along comes somebody else who says you've got epizootic and he can cure epizootic and he doesn't have to cut out the epi.

Usage notesEdit

Used in the second sense to mean "an ailment", it is often preceded by the definite article ("the epizootic"), is often plural in form ("the epizootics"), and is sometimes written "(the) epizoodic".

Do not confuse epizootic (epi- + zoo- + -otic) with epizooic or epizoic (epi- + zoo- + -ic).


epizootic (comparative more epizootic, superlative most epizootic)

  1. (epidemiology) Like or having to do with an epizootic: epidemic among animals.
    Epizootic plague occurred in the mice following introduction of rats from Europe.
    • 1913, J. J. Desmond, An enzootic of contagious abortion in cattle, in the American Journal of Veterinary Medicine, September 1913, volume VIII, number 9, page 470:
      As much attention is being drawn to the subject of epizootic abortion in bovines, [...]
    • 1914, Thomas Shaw, Management and Feeding of Sheep, page 398:
      These are known respectively as the hair lung worm and the thread lung worm. The former of these is probably the more widely diffused, but the latter is more epizootic in flocks than the former.
    • 1919 March 19, author not named, The Mud Larks, in Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 156, 2004 Gutenberg edition,
      I handed it back to him, explaining that he had come to the wrong shop--unless he were a horse, of course. If he were and could provide his own nosebag, head-stall and Army Form 1640, testifying that he was guiltless of mange, ophthalmia or epizootic lymphangitis, I would do what I could for him.
    • 1933, British Veterinary Journal, Volume 89, page 74,
      The parasites important in Britain do, however, by themselves constitute a most serious source of loss to pig breeders — probably at least as serious as that caused by the various more spectacular but more epizootic bacterial diseases.
  2. (geology, rare) Containing fossils.
    • 1799, Richard Kirwan, Geological Essays, pages 160-161:
      Hence their primary division is into primeval and secondary or Epizootic. And the epizootic mountains are still farther distinguishable into original and derivative.
  3. Relating to epizoa; epizoic.


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1873, J. S. Boone, in an article in The Medical and Surgical Reporter, 5 April 1873, volume XXVIII, number 14, number 840, published in the compilation The Medical and Surgical Reporter, volume XXVIII, page 278: Large numbers of persons were affected with the disease at the same time. It was not an unfrequent occurrence, in interchanging the compliments of the day with a friend, to receive, in response to an inquiry regarding his health, a reply similar to the following: "I have got the epizootic;" or, "I am about past going with the 'zooty;'" or, "The horse disease is going hard with me."
  2. ^ 1913, American Journal of Veterinary Medicine, November 1913, volume VIII, number 11, page 621: In the sparsely settled districts of Kansas, [...] there was recently a slight epizootic of a catarrhal nature among the horses, which is popularly known as "epizootic."
  3. 3.0 3.1 1876, William Cullen Bryant, in a letter to Leonice M. S. Moulton, written in New York on 18 April 1876, published in The Letters of William Cullen Bryant, volume 6, on page 301: "If I had not what Dr. Gray calls the Epizootic -- pronounce both os -- I should have come out to Roslyn this week."
  4. 4.0 4.1 1913, Paul Fischer, Foot and Mouth Disease in Ohio, published in the Official bulletins of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, volumes 4-5, page 151: "The epizootic (pronounced ep-i-zo-ot-ic) of foot and mouth disease [...]"



From French épizootique


epizootic m or n (feminine singular epizootică, masculine plural epizootici, feminine and neuter plural epizootice)

  1. epizootic