[ ih-pif-uh-nee ]
See synonyms for epiphany on Thesaurus.com
noun,plural e·piph·a·nies.
  1. (initial capital letter) a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day.

  2. an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity.

  1. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.

  2. a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.

Origin of epiphany

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English epiphanie, from Late Latin epiphanīa, from Late Greek epipháneia, from Greek: “apparition,” equivalent to epi- epi- + phan- (stem of phaínein “to appear”) + -eia -y3

Other words from epiphany

  • ep·i·phan·ic [ep-uh-fan-ik], /ˌɛp əˈfæn ɪk/, e·piph·a·nous, adjective

Words Nearby epiphany

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use epiphany in a sentence

  • Their escape was made at midnight on the eve of epiphany, 1649, all the court following in great disorder.

  • Neophytes should therefore be baptized at Easter and Pentecost alone, never at epiphany.

  • So careful is the poet to prepare both sides—the divine epiphany, and the mortal who is to behold it.

    Homer's Odyssey | Denton J. Snider
  • He thought the lessons of the Nativity and epiphany came as a very wholesome corrective to these tendencies.

    The Church Index | William Pepperell
  • There is nothing of him now in Florence, save a few drawings in the Uffizi and an unfinished picture of the epiphany.

    The Story of Florence | Edmund G. Gardner

British Dictionary definitions for epiphany (1 of 2)


/ (ɪˈpɪfənɪ) /

nounplural -nies
  1. the manifestation of a supernatural or divine reality

  2. any moment of great or sudden revelation

Origin of epiphany

C17: via Church Latin from Greek epiphaneia an appearing, from epi- + phainein to show

Derived forms of epiphany

  • epiphanic (ˌɛpɪˈfænɪk), adjective

British Dictionary definitions for Epiphany (2 of 2)


/ (ɪˈpɪfənɪ) /

nounplural -nies
  1. a Christian festival held on Jan 6, commemorating, in the Western Church, the manifestation of Christ to the Magi and, in the Eastern Church, the baptism of Christ

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

Cultural definitions for Epiphany


[ (i-pif-uh-nee) ]

A festival in Christianity celebrating the visit of the Wise Men to the infant Jesus. Epiphany means “a showing forth” — in this case a showing forth of Jesus to the Gentiles.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.