Denotation vs. Connotation


[ep-suh-lon, -luh n or, esp. British, ep-sahy-luh n] /ˈɛp səˌlɒn, -lən or, esp. British, ɛpˈsaɪ lən/
the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet (E, ε).
the consonant sound represented by this letter.
Mathematics. an arbitrarily small quantity, used to indicate that a given quantity is small, or close to zero.
Origin of epsilon
< Greek è psīlón bare, simple e (as opposed to diphthongal spellings which in later Gk represented the same sound) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ε
Historical Examples
  • If now in turn we take our four-inch glass, we shall see something else in this strange family group of ε Lyr.

    Pleasures of the telescope Garrett Serviss
  • Alnilam (al-ni-lam´), ε Orionis, "a belt of spheres or pearls."

    A Field Book of the Stars William Tyler Olcott
  • Next look at Epsilon (ε), and you will find near it two seventh-magnitude companions, making a beautiful little triangle.

    Astronomy with an Opera-glass Garrett Putman Serviss
  • Let the ( ¯ ) be used to distinguish η from ε, and ω from ο, and in no other case.

    Opuscula Robert Gordon Latham
  • The student should note especially the strange gap between α, γ, and ε Cygni.

    A Field Book of the Stars William Tyler Olcott
  • They marked the “first mansion of the moon,” and ε, δ, and ρ the second mansion.

    Astronomical Curiosities J. Ellard Gore
  • Draw JBA perpendicular to the lines of action, and let ε be the angle of rotation.

  • Signs for distinguishing the long and short vowels, as ε and η, ο and ω.

    The English Language Robert Gordon Latham
  • He also says that the star ω Tauri is exactly midway between A and ε, which is again correct.

    Astronomical Curiosities J. Ellard Gore
  • Close to ε a famous temporary appeared suddenly May 12, 1866, as a second-magnitude star.

    A Field Book of the Stars William Tyler Olcott
British Dictionary definitions for ε


/ˈɛpsɪˌlɒn; ɛpˈsaɪlən/
the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet (Ε, ε), a short vowel, transliterated as e
Word Origin
Greek e psilon, literally: simple e


/ˈɛpsɪˌlɒn; ɛpˈsaɪlən/
(foll by the genitive case of a specified constellation) the fifth brightest star in a constellation: Epsilon Aurigae
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
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Word Origin and History for ε



from Greek, literally e psilon "bare -e-, -e- and nothing else," in contradistinction to the diphthong -ai-, which has the same sound. Greek psilon "smooth, simple" is of uncertain origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ε in Medicine


  1. The Greek letter epsilon. Entries beginning with this character are alphabetized under epsilon.

  2. The symbol for molar absorption coefficient.

epsilon ep·si·lon (ěp'sə-lŏn', -lən)

  1. Symbol ε The fifth letter of the Greek alphabet.

  2. The fifth in a series.

  1. Of or relating to the fifth member of a particular ordered set.

  2. Relating to or characterizing a polypeptide chain that is one of five types of heavy chains present in immunoglobins.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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