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Origin of eon
What does eon mean?
Eon is commonly used in a general way to refer to an indefinitely long period of time. Outside of science, people usually use eon as a way to exaggerate how long something took to happen or how long something lasted.
In the context of geology, eon refers to the largest division of geological time. Technically speaking, an eon is made up of two or more eras, which consist of several periods, which are divided into epochs.
All of these units of time vary as to their exact length, but most consist of at least millions of years, with eons lasting billions or hundreds of millions of years.
In the context of astronomy, an eon is one billion years.
Example: It took me eons to get a straight answer as to how long an eon actually is.
Where does eon come from?
The first records of the word eon referring to a very long span of time come from around 1650. It comes from the Greek word aiṓn, referring to an infinitely long period of time.
Geologists generally divide the entirety of Earth’s existence into three eons. The first and oldest is the Archean eon, lasting from about 3.8 to 2.5 billion years ago. It is thought that most of the planet’s continental masses formed during this time. The next is the Proterozoic eon, lasting from about 2.5 billion to 540 million years ago, when bacteria and marine algae are thought to have appeared. The last (and present) eon is the Phanerozoic eon, stretching from about 540 million years ago to the present. The Archaen and Proterozoic eons are often combined into the Precambrian eon.
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What are some other forms of eon?
- aeon (British English spelling)
What are some synonyms for eon?
- age (when eon is used in a general or figurative sense)
What are some words that often get used in discussing eon?
How is eon used in real life?
In everyday conversation, eon is usually used to exaggerate how long something took. When used in a scientific way, it’s most often used in geology and astronomy.
How old is Earth? How do scientists know how old Earth is? What is geologic time and how is time divided? Take a walk through the latest Eon of geologic time, and learn how Earth and Life have changed in these 541 million years. https://t.co/M5i7uYgXCc #virtualtour #tbt pic.twitter.com/WuhzPwbeA6
— USGS (@USGS) July 9, 2020
— Atlas Obscura (@atlasobscura) February 14, 2014
Today I kind of announced to myself, surprised, "oh it's my birthday on Sunday". This is old age. Also took eons to recall what age I'll be
— Emer McLysaght (@EmerTheScreamer) October 17, 2017
Try using eon!
True or False?
When the word is used in a scientific context, an eon always consists of the exact same amount of time.
Example sentences from the Web for eon
You can traverse eons by brushing your fingers over the layers of a cliff wall.The Ghost of Ancient Earth’s Magma Oceans Found in Greenland Rocks|Jason Dorrier|March 14, 2021|Singularity Hub
That means, in theory, at least one extra planet may have been whizzing around the sun in eons past, knocking Neptune for a loop.Neptune’s bumpy childhood could reveal our solar system’s missing planets|Charlie Wood|January 8, 2021|Popular Science
This turned a search that might have taken eons into a morning chore.
Bush ran his last competitive race in 1998, an eon ago in political terms.
Each change was supposed to denote the birth of some angel or celestial being known as an Eon.The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors|Kersey Graves
Action with a purpose is deliberate; it involves a consciously foreseen end and a mental weighing of considerations pro and eon.Democracy and Education|John Dewey
He descended to the edge of the clearing and picked his way through the debris of some eon-old geologic catastrophe.First on the Moon|Jeff Sutton
After what seemed an eon it struck the edge of the subway kiosk, bounced like a rag doll and sprawled across the pavement.The End of Time|Wallace West
After what seemed an eon of waiting, he ventured another look ahead.The Valley of the Giants|Peter B. Kyne