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a prefix occurring in loanwords from Greek, where it meant “upon,” “on,” “over,” “near,” “at,” “before,” “after” (epicedium; epidermis; epigene; epitome); on this model, used in the formation of new compound words (epicardium; epinephrine).
Also, ep-, eph-.
Origin of epi-
< Greek, prefixal use of epí, preposition and adv. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for epi-


on; upon; above; over: epidermis, epicentre
in addition to: epiphenomenon
after: epigenesis, epilogue
near; close to: epicalyx
Word Origin
from Greek, from epi (prep)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for epi-

word-forming element meaning "on, upon, above," also "in addition to; toward, among," from Greek epi "upon, at, close upon (in space or time), on the occasion of, in addition," from PIE *epi, *opi "near, at, against" (cf. Sanskrit api "also, besides;" Avestan aipi "also, to, toward;" Armenian ev "also, and;" Latin ob "toward, against, in the way of;" Oscan op, Greek opi- "behind;" Hittite appizzis "younger;" Lithuanian ap- "about, near;" Old Church Slavonic ob "on"). Before unaspirated vowels, reduced to ep-; before aspirated vowels, eph-. A productive prefix in Greek; also used in modern scientific compounds (e.g. epicenter).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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epi- in Medicine

epi- or ep-

  1. On; upon: epineural.

  2. Over; above: epibasal.

  3. Around: epicystitis.

  4. Close to; near: epimer.

  5. Besides: epiphenomenon.

  6. After: epigenesis.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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