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epicenter

[ep-uh-sen-ter]
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noun
  1. Also epicentrum. Geology. a point, directly above the true center of disturbance, from which the shock waves of an earthquake apparently radiate.
  2. a focal point, as of activity: Manhattan's Chinatown is the epicenter of the city's Chinese community.
Also especially British, ep·i·cen·tre.

Origin of epicenter

1885–90; < New Latin epicentrum < Greek epíkentros on the center. See epi-, center
Related formsep·i·cen·tral, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for epicenter

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The ground motion near the epicenter was so violent that the tops of some trees were snapped off.

    Earthquakes

    Kaye M. Shedlock

  • The location of an earthquake is commonly described by the geographic position of its epicenter and by its focal depth.

    Earthquakes

    Kaye M. Shedlock

  • The Santa Cruz mountains suffered little damage from the seismic waves, even though they were close to the epicenter.

    Earthquakes

    Kaye M. Shedlock


Word Origin and History for epicenter

n.

1887, from Modern Latin epicentrum (1879 in geological use); see epi- + center. Related: Epicentral (1866).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

epicenter in Science

epicenter

[ĕpĭ-sĕn′tər]
  1. The point on the Earth's surface that is directly above the focus (the point of origin) of an earthquake. The epicenter is usually the location where the greatest damage associated with an earthquake occurs. See Note at earthquake.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.