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[ih-pif-uh-nee] /ɪˈpɪf ə ni/
noun, plural epiphanies.
(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.
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 forms
[ep-uh-fan-ik] /ˌɛp əˈfæn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
epiphanous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for epiphanies
  • But before any such epiphanies could happen, he needed the data.
  • There was, it seems, a medical reality behind the apparent mystical epiphanies and out-of-body experiences described in her work.
  • To be sure, epiphanies often come from friction between perspectives.
  • That's when she tells me one of her great epiphanies occurred in college.
  • When people are alone with their own thoughts, she said, that's when they have great epiphanies and get to discover who they are.
  • There will be no epiphanies, no career burning bushes.
  • No epiphanies, no frustrated calculations, no nonsensical answers from computer code.
  • Jotted impressions are conceived as epiphanies, mystical visions which link the beholder to the object beheld.
  • His ideas emerge from seminars and lectures, not from sudden epiphanies.
  • He had a pair of epiphanies, one having to do with severed relationships that needed healing.
British Dictionary definitions for epiphanies


noun (pl) -nies
the manifestation of a supernatural or divine reality
any moment of great or sudden revelation
Derived Forms
epiphanic (ˌɛpɪˈfænɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C17: via Church Latin from Greek epiphaneia an appearing, from epi- + phainein to show


noun (pl) -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
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Word Origin and History for epiphanies



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
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epiphanies in Culture
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 American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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