Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[ep-uh-sen-ter] /ˈɛp əˌsɛn tər/
Also, epicentrum. Geology. a point, directly above the true center of disturbance, from which the shock waves of an earthquake apparently radiate.
a focal point, as of activity:
Manhattan's Chinatown is the epicenter of the city's Chinese community.
Also, especially British, epicentre.
Origin of epicenter
1885-90; < New Latin epicentrum < Greek epíkentros on the center. See epi-, center
Related forms
epicentral, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
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

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
epicenter in Science
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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for epicenter

Word Value for epicenter

Scrabble Words With Friends