• synonyms


[ ih-pif-uh-nee ]
/ ɪˈpɪf ə ni /

noun, plural e·piph·a·nies.

(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.
an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity.
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.
a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.


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flash, vision, inspiration, oracle, realization, insight, sign, surprise, bombshell, discovery, shocker

Nearby words

epipen, epipetalous, epiph., epiphania, epiphanize, epiphany, epipharynx, epiphenomenalism, epiphenomenon, epiphloedal, epiphonema

Origin of epiphany

1275–1325; Middle English epiphanie < Late Latin epiphanīa < Late Greek epipháneia, Greek: apparition, equivalent to epi- epi- + phan- (stem of phaínein to appear) + -eia -y3
Related formsep·i·phan·ic [ep-uh-fan-ik] /ˌɛp əˈfæn ɪk/, e·piph·a·nous, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for epiphany

British Dictionary definitions for epiphany (1 of 2)


/ (ɪˈpɪfənɪ) /

noun plural -nies

the manifestation of a supernatural or divine reality
any moment of great or sudden revelation
Derived Formsepiphanic (ˌɛpɪˈfænɪk), adjective

Word Origin for epiphany

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

British Dictionary definitions for epiphany (2 of 2)


/ (ɪˈpɪfənɪ) /

noun plural -nies

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

Word Origin and History for epiphany



early 14c., "festival of the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles" (celebrated Jan. 6; usually with a capital -E-), from Old French epiphanie, from Late Latin epiphania, neuter plural (taken as feminine singular), from late Greek epiphaneia "manifestation, striking appearance" (in New Testament, "advent or manifestation of Christ"), from epiphanes "manifest, conspicuous," from epiphainein "to manifest, display," from epi "on, to" (see epi-) + phainein "to show" (see phantasm).

Of divine beings other than Christ, first recorded 1660s; general literary sense of "any manifestation or revelation" appeared 1840, first in De Quincey.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture 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.