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 New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, is allowing absentee voting in the state's June 23 primary under an order by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but a decision has not been made for November. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, "Republicans, Democrats push ahead on absentee voting even as Trump blasts Michigan over it," 21 May 2020 And if nursing homes are the epicenter of the coronavirus, Rhode Island is ground zero for nursing homes. Lynn Arditi, ProPublica, "She Fought to Keep COVID-19 Out of Her Nursing Home. Then, She Got Sick.," 15 May 2020 Crews has been part of the state's ongoing efforts at Green River, which thus far has been the epicenter of the outbreak among prisons and jails in the commonwealth. Jonathan Bullington, The Courier-Journal, "Amid coronavirus outbreak behind bars, Kentucky gets new Corrections commissioner," 13 May 2020 Within weeks, Bergamo was the epicenter of the deadly outbreak in Italy, and Valencia team members had brought the virus back to Spain. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "Sports after coronavirus," 12 May 2020 New York, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, had seen daily case increases between 8,000 and 10,000 for weeks. Keshia Clukey, Bloomberg.com, "New York Rate of Virus Deaths and Cases Is Lowest in Weeks," 5 May 2020 New York, now the national epicenter of the pandemic, has ten times as many cases as California. Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: March 24-25," 24 Apr. 2020 The average small business in Nebraska was on track to be five times as likely to get a small business loan under the program than its peers in New York, the current epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. Philip Elliott, Time, ""This is a Shot in the Arm For Us:" How Small Midwest Businesses Are Outpacing Coastal States for Government-Backed Loans," 17 Apr. 2020 The next day’s contest ended up being the finale, and then players had to make a choice: Go home or fly back to New York — an epicenter of the coronavrus outbreak — with the team. Mike Joseph, ExpressNews.com, "Vassar College’s Dawson Dullnig, a TMI-Episcopal product, tastes thrill of first victory then agony of no season," 16 Apr. 2020

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

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Epicenter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epicenter. Accessed 29 May. 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

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