Definition of epoch in English:


Line breaks: epoch
Pronunciation: /ˈiːpɒk
, ˈɛpɒk/


  • 1A particular period of time in history or a person’s life: the Victorian epoch
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    • 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
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    • 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
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    • 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.
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    • 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'.

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