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, ep·i·cen·tre.

Origin of epicenter

1885–90; < New Latin epicentrum < Greek epíkentros on the center. See epi-, center
Related formsep·i·cen·tral, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for epicentral

Contemporary Examples of epicentral

Historical Examples of epicentral

  • Fig. 28 shows the epicentral isoseismals as they are drawn by Mr. Earle Sloan.

  • The centre of its epicentral area must therefore lie about three miles south-east of Hereford.

  • Violent as the shock was at the places just mentioned, it must have been still greater in certain parts of the epicentral area.

  • In the epicentral area, the sound that accompanied the earthquake was remarkable for its extraordinary loudness.

  • Somewhat similar methods were employed by Mr. Oldham in the absence of seismographs from the epicentral area.

Word Origin and History for epicentral



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

epicentral 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.