English: what does endemic mean?

Tutoring English, words are always interesting. The tutor mentions an example.

I still recall the first time I heard “endemic,” almost 25 years ago. A radio broadcaster used it. (That was in the days when people made commentary without worrying; it was a lifetime ago:)

Endemic is an interesting word because it’s a good example of Led Zeppelin’s claim in “Stairway to Heaven”: ‘sometimes words have two meanings.’ Endemic’s two meanings are somewhat at odds with each other, depending on your perspective:

Endemic (1): common among individuals in a particular context. You might say, for example, that dieting is endemic in the entertainment industry.

Endemic (2) both native and restricted to a region. The American alligator is an example: it’s common in the American south-east, but not found anywhere else.


Barber, Katherine et al. Oxford Canadian Dictionary of Current English. Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2005.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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