ep·​i·​sode ˈe-pə-ˌsōd How to pronounce episode (audio)
-ˌzōd How to pronounce episode (audio)
: a usually brief unit of action in a dramatic or literary work: such as
: the part of an ancient Greek tragedy between two choric songs
: a developed situation that is integral to but separable from a continuous narrative : incident
: one of a series of loosely connected stories or scenes
: the part of a serial presented at one performance
: an event that is distinctive and separate although part of a larger series
: a digressive subdivision in a musical composition
Choose the Right Synonym for episode

occurrence, event, incident, episode, circumstance mean something that happens or takes place.

occurrence may apply to a happening without intent, volition, or plan.

an encounter that was a chance occurrence

event usually implies an occurrence of some importance and frequently one having antecedent cause.

the events following the assassination

incident suggests an occurrence of brief duration or secondary importance.

a minor wartime incident

episode stresses the distinctiveness or apartness of an incident.

a brief romantic episode in a life devoted to work

circumstance implies a specific detail attending an action or event as part of its setting or background.

couldn't recall the exact circumstances

Examples of episode in a Sentence

It was a brief romantic episode in a life devoted to work. He tried to forget the whole embarrassing episode. a painful episode from my childhood Millions of people are expected to watch the show's final episode.
Recent Examples on the Web But the episode exposed an underlying rift that cannot be papered over with photos. Bychristiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 24 Nov. 2023 The resident alien is the Meep (voiced by Miriam Margolyes), making its screen debut — the episode is based on a story from a comic in Doctor Who magazine — which presents first as something like Gizmo the Gremlin, and then as something more like a Gremlin after it’s been fed after midnight. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 24 Nov. 2023 The couple met while filming an episode of Carpool Karaoke in 2019 with their siblings, including Emily Deschanel and Scott’s twin brother and Property Brothers co-host. Carly Tagen-Dye, Peoplemag, 24 Nov. 2023 Offset was the musical guest on the Thanksgiving episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Matthew Strauss, Pitchfork, 24 Nov. 2023 But Friends took Thanksgiving more seriously than any other series, dedicating an episode every season to the holiday. Angie Martoccio, Rolling Stone, 23 Nov. 2023 The final season of 'Sort Of' premieres is airing only on Stan, with episodes dropping weekly. Alexandra Koster, refinery29.com, 23 Nov. 2023 Each episode of Scavengers Reign is packed with absolutely bizarre alien life, from hypnotic killer monkeys to aquatic egg-eating monstrosities. Andrew Webster, The Verge, 23 Nov. 2023 But Monica wins him back by putting a turkey on her head to bring the episode full circle. Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'episode.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Greek epeisodion, from neuter of epeisodios coming in besides, from epi- + eisodios coming in, from eis into (akin to Greek en in) + hodos road, journey — more at in

First Known Use

1678, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of episode was in 1678

Dictionary Entries Near episode

Cite this Entry

“Episode.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/episode. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ep·​i·​sode ˈep-ə-ˌsōd How to pronounce episode (audio)
: an event that is part of a longer story or of history or a life but which is viewed as complete by itself

Medical Definition


ˈep-ə-ˌsōd also -ˌzōd
: an event that is distinctive and separate although part of a larger series
especially : an occurrence of a usually recurrent pathological abnormal condition
a manic episode
hypoglycemic episodes
ˌep-ə-ˈsäd-ik also -ˈzäd-
episodically adverb

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