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

Far from the posh village of Notting Hill, bustling Covent Garden has evolved into an epicenter for the recent French renaissance in London. Elizabeth Wellington, Vogue, "Where to Find London’s Hidden French Side," 7 Jan. 2019 This is America, the birthplace of Hollywood and rugged individualism, the epicenter of celebrity culture. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Close the Hall of Fame, Cancel the MVP Award: There’s a Better Way," 27 Dec. 2018 The quake's epicenter was east of the city of Tomakomai. Fox News, "Quake in northern Japan kills 2, causes landslides, blackout," 6 Sep. 2018 That part of town remains the epicenter of violence: 102 of last year’s 160 homicides occurred east of the river. Scott Calvert, WSJ, "Illicit Guns Fuel 38% Murder Increase in Washington, D.C.," 4 Jan. 2019 Caterpillar, which moved its headquarters from Peoria to Deerfield last year, opened an innovation-focused office in Chicago’s de facto tech epicenter, the Merchandise Mart, in 2016. Ally Marotti, chicagotribune.com, "Suburban companies battle tech giants for talent. Downtown office spaces are their secret weapon.," 21 June 2018 The Stanley Cup, until that moment the epicenter of their universe, was quickly forgotten. Keith Gave, Detroit Free Press, "Limousine crash ended Detroit Red Wings' summer of joy after just 6 days," 13 June 2018 For this swampy sliver of southern Louisiana is our nation's epicenter of Cajun spice: chicken-and-sausage gumbo, crawfish étouffée and corn maque choux. Wendy Pramik, USA TODAY, "Made in Louisiana: Flavors of Lafayette and Cajun country," 5 Feb. 2018 But the presumption should be that the DNC serves as the epicenter for the data. Julie Bykowicz, WSJ, "Fight Over Voter Data Roils Democrats Ahead of Election," 15 Dec. 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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Last Updated

18 Mar 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

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