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

But the epicenter of the fight is in poorer areas like West Adams, a predominantly black and Latino neighborhood of South Los Angeles. Ian Lovett And Tawnell D. Hobbs, WSJ, "Charter Schools Stay Open As Striking Teachers Decry Their Growth," 21 Jan. 2019 Covering 14,000 square feet on six stories, with the fifth floor reserved for private shopping, the boutique is Chanel’s largest in the U.S., a clarion call from the epicenter of American retail. Erik Maza, Town & Country, "Chanel Sets Sail for New York City," 15 Nov. 2018 And in the political epicenter of Des Moines, Iowa, executives at Dwolla, a digital-payment startup, remind employees to vote in Slack channels, all-hands meetings and via email, said spokeswoman Steph Atkin. Chip Cutter, WSJ, "Companies’ Memo to Workers: Exercise Your Right to Vote," 4 Nov. 2018 The coordinator of the outbreak response, Dr. Ndjoloko Tambwe Bathe, spoke to reporters after a weekend marked by deadly rebel attacks and violent protests that suspended Ebola containment efforts in the epicenter of the outbreak. Cara Anna, The Seattle Times, "Health workers in Congo’s Ebola outbreak attacked weekly," 22 Oct. 2018 The Mexico City neighborhood of Cuauhtémoc first became an epicenter for Japanese culture following a wave of immigration at the end of World War II. Michaela Trimble, Vogue, "An Insider’s Guide to the Little Tokyo of Mexico City," 23 Jan. 2019 The historic town of Maheshwar, in India’s Madhya Pradesh state, is an epicenter of hand-loom weaving, known for its silk fabrics and saris. Sara Morosi, WSJ, "WSJ. Magazine Contributors: September Women’s 2018," 23 Aug. 2018 Kentland Farm, where 123 slaves once toiled beside the New River, will be an epicenter of that new push. Michael Laris, Washington Post, "‘Going to mission!’: Drones are flying themselves, but how far should Washington let them go?," 23 June 2018 During the 2008 financial crisis, Florida was an epicenter of the real estate meltdown. Bloomberg.com, "This Is What Happened During The Florida Real Estate Bubble," 1 Sep. 2017

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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Statistics for epicenter

Last Updated

27 May 2019

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Time Traveler for epicenter

The first known use of epicenter was in 1880

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with epicenter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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