Share this entry
epoch Line breaks: epoch
Pronunciation: /ˈiːpɒk/

Definition of epoch in English:


1A particular period of time in history or a person’s life: the Victorian epoch
More example sentences
  • British chronology is reckoned in royal reigns; epochs of history are named after kings and queens: the Elizabethan, Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian ages.
  • She explains that in earlier historical epochs people had little appreciation and time for it.
  • Here the Qur'an refers to the creation of the heavens and the earth in six long periods or epochs, which the scientists have no objection to.
1.1The beginning of a period in the history of someone or something: these events marked an epoch in their history
More example sentences
  • This is the beginning of a new epoch, the beginning of a new great democracy.
  • We can even speak of the beginning of a new epoch.
  • Mrs Raistrick said the ceremony ‘marked an epoch in the educational history of Upper Wharfedale and, we hope, begins a new era of development and progress in education.’
1.2 Geology A division of time that is a subdivision of a period and is itself subdivided into ages, corresponding to a series in chronostratigraphy: the Pliocene epoch
More example sentences
  • Gold deposition was the most productive during the course of the Hercynian and Kimmerian metallogenic epochs and the Mezo-Cenozoic activation stage.
  • The culmination of the cooling trend was the Pleistocene epoch, or Great Ice Age, of the last 1.8 million years.
  • The Pleistocene epoch occurred between about 1.8 million and 10,500 years ago.
1.3 Astronomy An arbitrarily fixed date relative to which planetary or stellar measurements are expressed.
Example sentences
  • One of these galaxy clusters is the most distant proto-cluster ever found and the other is the most massive known galaxy cluster for its epoch.
  • In particular, Steidel is known for the development of a technique that effectively locates early galaxies at prescribed cosmic epochs, allowing for the study of large samples of galaxies in the early universe.
  • The Perfect Cosmological Principle claimed that the Universe was not only similar from place to place but also from time to time: no astronomical observations could absolutely characterize the cosmic epoch at which we live.


Early 17th century (in the Latin form epocha; originally in the general sense of a date from which succeeding years are numbered): from modern Latin epocha, from Greek epokhē 'stoppage, fixed point of time', from epekhein 'stop, take up a position', from epi 'upon, near to' + ekhein 'stay, be in a certain state'.

Definition of epoch in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources