epi·​cen·​ter | \ˈe-pi-ˌsen-tər \

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 \ 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 more importantly, the conference’s goal is to remind people that the fight against HIV is not over, particularly in the southern U.S., which has become the epicenter of the HIV epidemic. Naseem S. Miller, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Large AIDS conference coming to Orlando in September," 13 July 2018 His dad, like many of the great electric blues artists of the 20th century, was born in the Mississippi Delta and made his way up north, in his case to Chicago, which became the epicenter of the electric blues. John Adamian, courant.com, "Britney Spears, Tory Lanez, Kimya Dawson: Seven Concert Highlights," 7 July 2018 The show felt like dispatches from the epicenter of cool. refinery29.com, "The Birth, Death & Inevitable Comeback Of The Cosmo, SATC's Greatest Icon," 6 June 2018 East Boston has become the city’s epicenter for housing displacement, according to housing advocates. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Boston Wants Amazon, but Is There Room?," 21 May 2018 The lack of jobs, investment, and, say residents, respect and attention from the government led Tafila to become an epicenter of a nationwide protest movement when the Arab Spring hit Jordan in 2011. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, "In rural Jordan, pulling power from the wind to make change on the ground," 3 May 2018 By the 1990s, the houses became an epicenter of midtown's punk rock scene. Ryan Lillis, sacbee, "These 1910 homes hosted punk rockers and poets. They were just spared from demolition | The Sacramento Bee," 12 Apr. 2018 Parkland became the epicenter of the long-standing gun violence issue after the massacre. Jaclyn Corin, Seventeen, "I Helped Organize the “March For Our Lives” Because There Is Strength In Numbers," 21 Mar. 2018 But Dara'a, and the story of at least 15 teenage boys arrested because of graffiti spray-painted on a high school wall, became the epicenter of the Syrian war. Jamie Tarabay, CNN, "For many Syrians, the story of the war began with graffiti in Dara'a," 15 Mar. 2018

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

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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