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 epicenter (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 To get to know that world, Colin Jerolmack, a professor of sociology and environmental studies at NYU, spent eight months in 2013 living in the fracking epicenter of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, population about 28,000. Sarah Smarsh, The Atlantic, "The Human Side of Fracking," 16 Apr. 2021 By contrast, the current absence of Black representation on the roster was felt as the Red Sox spent this week in the geographical epicenter of a national reckoning on race. BostonGlobe.com, "Red Sox acknowledge uncomfortable reality on Jackie Robinson Day," 15 Apr. 2021 The last year has undoubtedly been a trying one for England’s tailoring epicenter, but green shoots can be seen in such encouraging news as the arrival of newcomer Dobrik & Lawton, whose April 19th official opening coincides with the event’s run. Eric Twardzik, Robb Report, "A New Exhibition on Savile Row Offers a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Bespoke Suitmaking," 19 Apr. 2021 Bentley revisited the song on Sunday night’s ACM Awards, teaming up with the War and Treaty to perform U2’s 1984 anthem at Nashville’s epicenter of bluegrass, the Station Inn. Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone, "Dierks Bentley, the War and Treaty Cover U2’s ‘Pride’ on 2021 ACM Awards," 19 Apr. 2021 The country that invented K-Pop, K-barbeque, K-beauty, and 24-hour jjimjilbangs (Korean bathhouses), draws expats wanting to be a part of this living and breathing epicenter for popular culture. Lilly Graves, Travel + Leisure, "10 Best Countries for Americans Who Want to Live Abroad," 18 Apr. 2021 But this rebirth is playing out more cautiously in places like Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles, an epicenter of the coronavirus crisis. Melody Petersen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: How best to ‘do no harm’?," 16 Apr. 2021 The skyrocketing number of new cases, which have pushed India’s total infections to more than 14 million, has turned the South Asian nation into a global epicenter of the pandemic, with few signs that the outbreak will ebb. Washington Post, "Covid-19 live updates India reports record 200,000 new covid-19 cases as outbreak spreads," 15 Apr. 2021 Coronavirus infections have gradually crept up nationwide over the last month, but Michigan has turned into an epicenter, with the state’s daily case counts approaching record levels. Joe Walsh, Forbes, "Michigan Isn’t Enacting New Covid Rules Amid Worst Virus Outbreak In U.S. — Here’s What It’s Doing Instead," 14 Apr. 2021

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

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Epicenter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epicenter. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for epicenter



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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for epicenter

Nglish: Translation of epicenter for Spanish Speakers

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