noun \ˈe-pək, ˈe-ˌpäk, US also & British usually ˈē-ˌpäk\

: a period of time that is very important in history

Full Definition of EPOCH

a :  an event or a time marked by an event that begins a new period or development
b :  a memorable event or date
a :  an extended period of time usually characterized by a distinctive development or by a memorable series of events
b :  a division of geologic time less than a period and greater than an age
:  an instant of time or a date selected as a point of reference (as in astronomy)

Examples of EPOCH

  1. The Civil War era was an epoch in 19th-century U.S. history.
  2. The development of the steam engine marked an important epoch in the history of industry.

Origin of EPOCH

Medieval Latin epocha, from Greek epochē cessation, fixed point, from epechein to pause, hold back, from epi- + echein to hold — more at scheme
First Known Use: 1614

Related to EPOCH

day, age, era, period, time
See Synonym Discussion at period

Other Geology Terms

anthracite, boulder, cwm, erratic, igneous, intrusive, mesa, sedimentary, silt, swale


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Unit of geologic time during which a rock series is deposited. It is a subdivision of a geologic period. Additional distinctions can be made by adding relative time terms, such as early, middle, and late.


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