epiph·​a·​ny | \ i-ˈpi-fə-nē How to pronounce epiphany (audio) \
plural epiphanies

Definition of epiphany

1 capitalized : January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ
2 : an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being
3a(1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something
(2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (such as an event) usually simple and striking
(3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure
b : a revealing scene or moment

Examples of epiphany in a Sentence

Invention has its own algorithm: genius, obsession, serendipity, and epiphany in some unknowable combination. — Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker, 12 May 2008 One day, a New York composer met an expert on Asian domesticated elephants, and together they reached some sort of freakish epiphany and decided to see if elephants could learn to play music. — Jon Pareles, New York Times, 5 Jan. 2002 One epiphany came when a dozen engineers in northern New Mexico saw a lone, fading Xerox paper carton bobbing in a swamp of old motor oil at the bottom of a pit. — Michelle Conlin, Business Week, 1 Nov. 1999 Seeing her father again when she was an adult was an epiphany that changed her whole view of her childhood.
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Recent Examples on the Web Armed with this epiphany, Lester starts taking all the credit for a project that his teammates actually contributed to and picking fights with his coworkers. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "The secret to dealing with cynics at work," 24 Jan. 2020 How to dodge sugar pushers: One of the epiphanies you are bound to have on a sugar-busting quest is that sugary foods are lurking everywhere — at the juice bar, in the ballpark, even your kids’ doctor’s office! Michele Promaulayko, Good Housekeeping, "How to Stop Sugar Cravings Once and For All," 18 Jan. 2020 Brands that haven’t had this epiphany need to understand their role in their consumers’ life and constantly look for clarity and insight. Sudhir Sitapati, Quartz India, "Hindustan Unilever’s advertising approach is a life skill worth acquiring," 6 Jan. 2020 That's the secret to ayahuasca's powerful psychedelic effects, which can also produce feelings of elation and fear or a sense of epiphany or psychological breakthrough. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Ayahuasca alters brain waves to produce waking dream-like state, study finds," 19 Nov. 2019 Levi Strauss’s Chip Bergh, who took a strong stance on gun control, tells of a similar epiphany. Fortune, "America’s CEOs Seek a New Purpose for the Corporation," 19 Aug. 2019 Javed’s moment of epiphany occurs during the great storm of October 1987. J.t., The Economist, "“Blinded by the Light” captures Bruce Springsteen’s universal truths," 15 Aug. 2019 What was the moment of epiphany, the circumstance that made the inconsistencies undeniable? Drew Gilpin Faust, The Atlantic, "Race, History, and Memories of a Virginia Girlhood," 18 July 2019 But first, how a visit to Dayton led to an epiphany. The Christian Science Monitor, "Thanks for all the sunny days," 9 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epiphany.' 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 epiphany

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for epiphany

Middle English epiphanie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin epiphania, from Late Greek, plural, probably alteration of Greek epiphaneia appearance, manifestation, from epiphainein to manifest, from epi- + phainein to show — more at fancy

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The first known use of epiphany was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Epiphany.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epiphany. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for epiphany


How to pronounce epiphany (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of epiphany

: a Christian festival held on January 6 in honor of the coming of the three kings to the infant Jesus Christ
: a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with epiphany

Spanish Central: Translation of epiphany

Nglish: Translation of epiphany for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of epiphany for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about epiphany

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