epi·​phe·​nom·​e·​non | \ ˌe-pi-fi-ˈnä-mə-ˌnän How to pronounce epiphenomenon (audio) , -nən \
plural epiphenomena\ ˌe-​pi-​fi-​ˈnä-​mə-​ˌnä How to pronounce epiphenomenon (audio) , -​nə \

Definition of epiphenomenon

: a secondary phenomenon accompanying another and caused by it specifically : a secondary mental phenomenon that is caused by and accompanies a physical phenomenon but has no causal influence itself

Examples of epiphenomenon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Life, according to Crick, was an epiphenomenon of physics and chemistry — complex, yes, but still explicable in molecular terms. New York Times, "What Does It Mean to Be a Living Thing?," 24 Mar. 2021 Knowland is not an epiphenomenon of cancel culture writ large, a hapless victim of the times. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "England’s Top School Fires Teacher for Thought Crimes," 4 Dec. 2020 The new conspiracism is more than simply an offshoot or epiphenomenon of other forces such as authoritarianism or strident populism. N.c., The Economist, "Conspiracy theories are dangerous—here’s how to crush them," 12 Aug. 2019

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

circa 1706, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of epiphenomenon was circa 1706

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Last Updated

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Epiphenomenon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epiphenomenon. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for epiphenomenon


epi·​phe·​nom·​e·​non | \ ˌep-i-fə-ˈnäm-ə-ˌnän, -nən How to pronounce epiphenomenon (audio) \

Medical Definition of epiphenomenon

: an accidental or accessory event or process occurring in the course of a disease but not necessarily related to that disease

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