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

While Chicago remains the Democratic epicenter in Illinois, Democrats are also hoping to turn four red congressional districts blue this year. Tara Golshan, Vox.com, "Illinois results for every midterm race," 8 Nov. 2018 Not only did this hipster epicenter offer BOGO 50% off on all home items in 2017, but their smaller sofas were all on sale for under $600. Jolie Peters, House Beautiful, "The Best Places To Score A Sofa On Black Friday," 14 Oct. 2018 The quake was about 19 miles deep and had an epicenter about a mile east-southeast of Loloan, according to the USGS. Travis Fedschun, Mike Arroyo, Fox News, "More than 90 killed after 6.9 magnitude earthquake strikes Indonesia's Lombok Island, near Bali," 2 Oct. 2018 But Silicon Valley, the tech epicenter, exists in part because of opposition to unions, according to Alex Press. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, "What Tesla’s union-busting trial means for the rest of Silicon Valley," 29 Sep. 2018 Instead of staying in North America and hoping for the best, Ward had moved to Oxford, England, the epicenter of Formula One engineering. Jacob Sweet, miamiherald, "His dream was to race cars. Now this Miami kid is building them for one of best F1 teams," 10 July 2018 Their music captures the sound of 1940s and ’50s Cuba, when the country was one of the world’s most glamorous destinations and an epicenter of music and culture. New York Times, "13 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 5 July 2018 While Ruth is the center of attention, and consternation, Burt is the epicenter of the family’s love and pain. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘What They Had’ Review: A Troubled Trip Down Memory Lane," 18 Oct. 2018 The accident and safety During his presentation, Hirose noted that the epicenter of 2011's Tōhoku earthquake was only 180 kilometers from Fukushima. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "An insider’s perspective on Fukushima and everything that came after," 5 Oct. 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

9 Dec 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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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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