Definition of epoch
1a : an event or a time marked by an event that begins a new period or developmentb : a memorable event or date
2a : an extended period of time usually characterized by a distinctive development or by a memorable series of eventsb : a division of geologic time less than a period and greater than an age
3 : an instant of time or a date selected as a point of reference (as in astronomy)
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Examples of epoch in a Sentence
The Civil War era was an epoch in 19th-century U.S. history.
The development of the steam engine marked an important epoch in the history of industry.
Recent Examples of epoch from the Web
Portentous, considering that the current concentration of CO2, now more than 400 parts per million, is reaching a level not seen for perhaps three million years, since the Pliocene epoch.
Deep thinkers in ancient Greece and Rome recognized fossils as the remains of life-forms from earlier epochs.
Each of her books is a dense tapestry woven from encounters with those caught up in epoch-making events, from the second world war to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986.
Around ten thousand years ago, as the Pleistocene gave way to our current geological epoch, a group of hunter-gathers near China’s Yangtze River began changing their way of life.
Another is to ask what life will look like in that epoch—both what lifeforms could become extinct and what could eventually become possible.
In her paintings, as in her homes, Stettheimer gathered the best and the quirkiest spirits and energies—the collective genius—of her epoch, gave them a whirl, and sent them spinning into the future.
Then came the Hadron epoch, when the first protons and neutrons formed from quarks, about 1 second after the Big Bang.
An epoch of exceptional monetary stimulus is drawing to a close.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epoch'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Epoch comes to us, via Medieval Latin, from Greek epochē, meaning "cessation" or "fixed point." "Epochē," in turn, comes from the Greek verb epechein, meaning "to pause" or "to hold back." When "epoch" was first borrowed into English, it referred to the fixed point used to mark the beginning of a system of chronology. That sense is now obsolete, but today "epoch" is used in some fields (such as astronomy) with the meaning "an instant of time or a date selected as a point of reference." The "an event or a time that begins a new period or development" sense first appeared in print in the early 17th century, and "epoch" has been applied to defining moments or periods of time ever since.
Synonym Discussion of epoch
EPOCH Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of epoch for English Language Learners
: a period of time that is very important in history
EPOCH Defined for Kids
Definition of epoch for Students
: a period that is important or memorable
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