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illustration Epoch



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Latin, early 17th century


A period of time in history or a person's life, typically one marked by notable events or particular characteristics.


The beginning of a distinctive period in the history of someone or something.

Examples of Epoch in a sentence

"Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another.' — Carl Sagan"

"A British epoch is defined by the ruling monarch: Elizabethan, Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian."

About Epoch

Epoch has been through a bit of an etymological journey. In Ancient Greek, "epekhein" meant "stop, take up a position." That turned into "epokhē," which is a fixed point in time. Then in Latin, "epocha" meant a date from which succeeding years are numbered (as in 0 A.D.). Epoch can still mean that beginning point, but it also describes spans of time defined by notable events (such as the Renaissance or the Industrial Revolution).

Did you Know?

In a general sense, an epoch is a period of time. But there are specific definitions. In geology, an epoch is "a division of time that is a subdivision of a period and is itself subdivided into ages, corresponding to a series in chronostratigraphy." If you're an astronomer, an epoch is "an arbitrarily fixed date relative to which planetary or stellar measurements are expressed."

illustration Epoch

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