[ ep-uh-sohd, -zohd ]
/ ˈɛp əˌsoʊd, -ˌzoʊd /
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Definition of episode

an incident in the course of a series of events, in a person's life or experience, etc.
an incident, scene, etc., within a narrative, usually fully developed and either integrated within the main story or digressing from it.
one of a number of loosely connected, but usually thematically related, scenes or stories constituting a literary work.
Music. an intermediate or digressive passage, especially in a contrapuntal composition.
Movies, Radio, and Television. any one of the separate productions that constitute a serial.
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Origin of episode

First recorded in 1670–80; from Greek epeisódion “addition, parenthetic narrative, episode,” noun use of neuter of epeisódios “coming in addition,” equivalent to ep- ep- + eísod(os) “entrance” (eis- “into” + (h)odós “road, way”) + -ios adjective suffix

synonym study for episode

1. See event.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does episode mean?

Episode most generally refers to a specific incident in a continuous series of events, an occurrence of a recurring event, or an installment or entry in a series.

Episode is perhaps most popularly used in a more specific way to refer to one of the parts that a TV series is divided into, as in I’ve seen every single episode of The Office. Such episodes are often like chapters of a larger story, though each one may be unrelated other than being part of the same series. This sense of the word can also be applied to other forms of entertainment, especially ones you watch or listen to, such as podcasts, radio shows, or video series. (In contrast, parts in a periodical series, such as a comic book, aren’t commonly called episodes but are instead referred to with other terms, such as issue or edition.)

More generally, episode can refer to a particular part of a story or narrative, such as a scene or sequence within a novel.

In the context of real life, the word episode can refer to a specific period in a person’s life, especially one that’s distinct, such as due to being a life-changing or defining experience, as in The year that we moved to a new city was one of the particularly memorable episodes of my childhood. This sense of episode means something like a chapter in the story of someone’s life.

The word can also refer to an instance of experiencing something that’s recurring, such as a medical or mental health issue, as in The patient has a history of depressive episodes.

The adjective episodic can be used to describe things that occur occasionally or things that are divided into episodes.

Example: The show’s final episode is scheduled to air on Thursday night.

Where does episode come from?

The first records of the word episode come from the 1670s. It comes from the Greek epeisódion, meaning “addition” or “parenthetic narrative.” In the context of ancient Greek drama, the word episode refers to one of the particular sections or interludes that occur between other parts of the play. The word epeisodion means the same thing and is based on the same root.

While the term episode in terms of entertainment is most commonly used to refer to an installment of a TV show, it’s sometimes used to refer to one movie in a series. Perhaps the most well-known example of this is in the Star Wars franchise, in which each movie in the main sequence of films is subtitled with its episode number, such as Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.

The word episode has been blended into new terms that refer to certain kinds of episodes, such as webisode (an episode of a web series), minisode (a short episode), and extrasode (a bonus episode).

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How is episode used in real life?

Episode is most commonly used to refer to installments of things like TV shows and podcasts.

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Is episode used correctly in the following sentence? 

The tragedy is one of the darkest episodes in the history of this nation.

How to use episode in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for episode

/ (ˈɛpɪˌsəʊd) /

an incident, event, or series of events
any one of the sections into which a serialized novel or radio or television programme is divided
an incident, sequence, or scene that forms part of a narrative but may be a digression from the main story
(in ancient Greek tragedy) a section between two choric songs
music a contrasting section between statements of the subject, as in a fugue or rondo

Word Origin for episode

C17: from Greek epeisodion something added, from epi- (in addition) + eisodios coming in, from eis- in + hodos road
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