epi·​cen·​ter | \ ˈe-pi-ˌsen-tər How to pronounce epicenter (audio) \

Definition of epicenter

1 : the part of the earth's surface directly above the focus of an earthquake — compare hypocenter sense 1
2 : center sense 2a the epicenter of world finance

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Other Words from epicenter

epicentral \ ˌe-​pi-​ˈsen-​trəl How to pronounce epicentral (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

The meaning of epi- in epicenter is "over", so the epicenter of an earthquake lies over the center or "focus" of the quake. Epicenter can also refer to the centers of things that may seem in their own way as powerful—though not as destructive—as earthquakes. Wall Street, for example, might be said to lie at the epicenter of the financial world.

Examples of epicenter in a Sentence

by continually reinventing itself, Las Vegas has managed to remain a national epicenter for entertainment
Recent Examples on the Web The epicenter was 59 miles southeast of Adak, a village of about 300 people. USA TODAY, "Seedlings to fall far from oak, bologna bust, snowboard pioneer: News from around our 50 states," 26 Nov. 2019 The city is known as an epicenter of health and wellness, with more than 900 physicians on the campus of Loma Linda University and Medical Center. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "What this sunny, religious town in California teaches us about living longer," 25 Nov. 2019 This Is 40, the epicenter of marital tension is the bedroom of the onscreen couple, played by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann. Mallika Rao, The Atlantic, "Splitting Up—For the Night," 19 Nov. 2019 Though the costumes never directly reference the minis, pop-art and space-age frocks that defined London as the epicenter of mod culture, royal looks were amplified for both queen and princess. Cathy Whitlock, The Hollywood Reporter, ""Monarchy" vs. "Toxicity": How 'The Crown' Dressed the New Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret," 8 Nov. 2019 Weimar The epicenter of the Bauhaus year is Weimar, the town in eastern Germany where Bauhaus was born a hundred years ago. National Geographic, "Why is Bauhaus such a big deal in design?," 15 Oct. 2019 In Helmand province, the epicenter of the poppy belt, USAID and the U.S. military paid Afghans to dig or renovate miles of canals and ditches to irrigate fruit trees and other crops. Craig Whitlock, Anchorage Daily News, "In confidential documents, U.S. officials said almost everything they did to end opium farming in Afghanistan backfired," 9 Dec. 2019 As Bloomberg reported, Buttigieg has been on a big fundraising push in the epicenter of the technology industry, hobnobbing with executives from Netflix and Uber. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 Presidential Campaign Is a Lesson in “Petey” Bourgeois Politics," 21 Nov. 2019 Out of the 2,823 earthquakes analyzed in the study, only 121 of them registered above a magnitude 2.0 on the Richter Scale, which would have been strong enough to be felt by some close to the epicenter. Sergio Chapa, Houston Chronicle, "New study blames some fracking practices for Eagle Ford earthquakes," 20 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epicenter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of epicenter

1880, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for epicenter

New Latin epicentrum, from epi- + Latin centrum center

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Time Traveler for epicenter

Time Traveler

The first known use of epicenter was in 1880

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Statistics for epicenter

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Epicenter.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epicenter. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for epicenter


How to pronounce epicenter (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of epicenter

: the part of the earth's surface that is directly above the place where an earthquake starts

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More from Merriam-Webster on epicenter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for epicenter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with epicenter

Spanish Central: Translation of epicenter

Nglish: Translation of epicenter for Spanish Speakers

Comments on epicenter

What made you want to look up epicenter? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to insert between existing elements

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