- a prefix occurring in loanwords from Greek, where it meant “upon,” “on,” “over,” “near,” “at,” “before,” “after” (epicedium; epidermis; epigene; epitome); on this model, used in the formation of new compound words (epicardium; epinephrine).
Origin of epi-
eph- or before a vowel ep-
- on; upon; above; overepidermis; epicentre
- in addition toepiphenomenon
- afterepigenesis; epilogue
- near; close toepicalyx
Word Origin and History for epi-
word-forming element meaning "on, upon, above," also "in addition to; toward, among," from Greek epi "upon, at, close upon (in space or time), on the occasion of, in addition," from PIE *epi, *opi "near, at, against" (cf. Sanskrit api "also, besides;" Avestan aipi "also, to, toward;" Armenian ev "also, and;" Latin ob "toward, against, in the way of;" Oscan op, Greek opi- "behind;" Hittite appizzis "younger;" Lithuanian ap- "about, near;" Old Church Slavonic ob "on"). Before unaspirated vowels, reduced to ep-; before aspirated vowels, eph-. A productive prefix in Greek; also used in modern scientific compounds (e.g. epicenter).
- On; upon:epineural.
- Over; above:epibasal.
- Close to; near:epimer.