epiphany

noun
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

Historically, spas were founded by individuals at the fringes or ahead of their time: those who triumphed over their own health woes (or saw others do so at close hand), then felt compelled to share their epiphanies. Daisy Finer, Condé Nast Traveler, "Biomarkers, Sweat Lodges, and Shamans: Today's Wellness Retreats Go Far Beyond a Detox," 26 Aug. 2019 The high-end resort backdrop is lovely to look at, and Vikander and Green invest their characters’ respective epiphanies with some feeling. Noel Murray, latimes.com, "Reviews: Gary Oldman in ‘Killers Anonymous’; plus ‘The 16th Episode’ and more," 27 June 2019 Boyce soon had his own epiphany moment on a city street en route to the subway. Susan Miller, USA TODAY, "Stonewall Forever: 50 years later, digital monument debuts. LGBTQ activists say it couldn't be more timely.," 4 June 2019 Joseph Kopser’s epiphany happened on a Sunday afternoon in Thousand Oaks. Gilbert Garcia, ExpressNews.com, "Former congressional hopeful declares war on hyper-partisanship," 23 Aug. 2019 MoMA The duo’s epiphany echoes the cultural divide between Italy’s affluent northern region and the economically troubled south. Anne Quito, Quartzy, "The MoMA Design Store is selling household goods from Italy," 17 Aug. 2019 Still, Smith insists that his off-the-field focus doesn’t flow from any epiphany about the perils of football. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Cowboys' LB Jaylon Smith’s passion play away from football is to boost business dreams," 11 July 2019 For her, my personal epiphany came at the right time. Phil Blair, San Diego Union-Tribune, "When it comes to negotiating skills, don’t sell yourself short," 1 July 2019 The idea to create a therapeutic wolf sanctuary hit Alfero like an epiphany 10 years ago. Gregory Thomas, SFChronicle.com, "Can ‘wolf therapy’ open people up? One shaman aims to find out.," 26 June 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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More Definitions for epiphany

epiphany

noun

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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More from Merriam-Webster on epiphany

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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