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

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 The earthquake's epicenter was approximately 38 km northeast in the coastal town of Tela near the Caribbean and had a depth of 10 km, the United States Geological Survey announced. Phillip Nieto, Fox News, 2 Aug. 2022 Its epicenter was about 13 kilometers (8 miles) southeast of the small town of Dolores, with a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to USGS. Jessie Yeung, CNN, 26 July 2022 The epicenter of the losses is in growth stocks which were the first to crack and helped usher in the bear market. Bill Stone, Forbes, 3 July 2022 The political epicenter of the shift in Iowa has been the counties along the Mississippi River. Ben Jacobs, The New Republic, 28 June 2022 The epicenter was in the province of Paktika, about 30 miles from the city of Khost. Sasha Warren, Scientific American, 24 June 2022 Neighboring Pakistan’s Meteorological Department said the quake’s epicenter was in Afghanistan’s Paktika province, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of the city of Khost. Fazel Rahman Faizi, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 June 2022 The epicenter of the earthquake was about 44 kilometers (27 miles) from the city of Khost, near the Pakistani border, at a depth of 51 kilometers, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Time, 22 June 2022 Its epicenter was in the mountainous region near the country’s border with Pakistan and about 27 miles from the city of Khost, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which put the magnitude at 5.9. Shaiq Hussain, Washington Post, 22 June 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About epicenter

Time Traveler for epicenter

Time Traveler

The first known use of epicenter was in 1880

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near epicenter




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for epicenter

Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Epicenter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epicenter. Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on epicenter

Nglish: Translation of epicenter for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!