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extended play:
  1. a phonograph record that is typically played at 45 rpm and contains more tracks than a single, but fewer tracks than an LP.
  2. a short or half-length music album in any format, typically comprised of four to seven songs: called EP as an evolution of the traditional extended-play record, albums in other formats are not known by the underlying expanded form, and identified only by the abbreviation.
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Origin of EP

First recorded in 1950–55 for def. 2a

Other definitions for EP (2 of 3)


variant of epi- before a vowel or h: epaxial.

Other definitions for EP (3 of 3)


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


What else does EP mean?

EP commonly stands for extended play, a musical recording which is popularly understood as shorter than a full album (about four to seven tracks). EP can also stand for European plan (in hotels) and European Parliament. Sometimes, EP, written as ep, is short for episode (of a TV show, podcast, etc.).

How is EP pronounced?

[ ee-pee ] for European Parliament, European Plan, or extended play, and [ ep ] for episode.

What are some other words related to EP?

  • album
  • LP
  • mixtape
  • record

Where does EP come from?

When the first phonograph records were released in the late 1800s, they could only play for a few minutes at a time and the sound quality was very scratchy.

In 1948, Columbia Records transformed the music industry with their innovation of the long playing (LP) record. These LPs had a better sound quality and could play over 20 minutes of music per side.

Not to be outdone, rival company RCA Records released their competing extended play or EP records in 1952. These EPs could play up to 7.5 minutes per side on the standard 45 rpm (revolutions per minute) record player—while LPs required a new 33 1/3 rpm player.

EPs were popularized  in part by Disney, which used RCA’s format to release EPs of their movies’ stories and songs. Eventually, vinyl records were largely replaced by tapes, CDs, MP3s, and then streaming services. But the EP format has persisted, especially in alternative music scenes from punk to indie to hip-hop.

Contemporary EPs are released on a variety of formats, including old-school vinyl, but people commonly use EP to refer to a record that is shorter than a full-length album, sometimes as an artist debut or between-album recording.

How is EP used in real life?

Artists and their promoters often talk about dropping a new EP when they’ve got a new batch of songs, not just a single but also not a full-length album.

Outside the music scene, note that EP can stand for the European Parliament, the legislative assembly of the European Community. Less familiar now is EP as short for European plan, a system of paying a fixed rate in hotels that covers lodging and service but not meals.

The abbreviation ep. or shortening ep can mean episode, e.g., My favorite ep of Buffy is the one where Angel and Buffy go to prom.

More examples of EP:

“Following the EP vote, the European Council will decide if fundamental values of the EU are indeed being violated in Hungary in a vote requiring a four-fifths majority.”

Hungary Today, September 2018

How to use EP in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for EP (1 of 4)

/ (ɛp) /

abbreviation for

British Dictionary definitions for EP (2 of 4)


an extended-play single, one of the formats in which music is sold, usually comprising four or five tracks
abbreviation for
Eastern (Cape) Province

British Dictionary definitions for EP (3 of 4)


variant of epi- epexegesis

British Dictionary definitions for EP (4 of 4)


abbreviation for
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