Part of speech: noun
Origin: Latin, early 17th century
A period of time in history or a person's life, typically one marked by notable events or particular characteristics.
The beginning of a distinctive period in the history of someone or something.
Examples of Epoch in a sentence
"My field of study focuses on the epoch in which dinosaurs lived."
"A British epoch is defined by the ruling monarch: Elizabethan, Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian."
Epoch has been through a bit of an etymological journey. In ancient Greek, "epekhein" meant "stop, take up a position." That turned into "epokhē," which is a fixed point in time. Then, in Latin, "epocha" meant "a date from which succeeding years are numbered" (as in 0 CE). "Epoch" still refers to that beginning point, but it also describes spans of time defined by notable events (such as the Renaissance or the Industrial Revolution).
Did you Know?
In a general sense, an epoch is a period of time, but there are specific definitions for certain fields. In geology, an epoch is "a division of time that is a subdivision of a period and is itself subdivided into ages, corresponding to a series in chronostratigraphy." If you're an astronomer, an epoch is "an arbitrarily fixed date relative to which planetary or stellar measurements are expressed."