Definition of epicenter in English:


(British epicentre)


  • 1The point on the earth's surface vertically above the focus of an earthquake.

    • ‘The British Geological Survey said the epicentre of the earthquake - the largest to hit Britain for ten years - was ‘right under Birmingham’.’
    • ‘The area was the closest to the epicentre of the earthquake, bore the full brunt of the subsequent tsunami and was clearly one of the worst affected areas.’
    • ‘The epicentre of that earthquake was about 20 kms north of Napier, on the opposite side of the North Island.’
    • ‘The area is an epicentre for earthquakes caused by tectonic plates moving apart.’
    • ‘Its epicenter, the location on the earth's surface directly above the quake, was at Duck Creek.’
    • ‘We did an investigation a couple of years back, finding ourselves right at the epicentre of a minor earthquake, one of the largest the country had seen for years.’
    • ‘Another perhaps useful notion here is that of earthquakes having epicentres and aftershocks.’
    • ‘The pair have been helping people on an island off North Sumatra, the closest inhabited area to the epicentre of the earthquake, which was ravaged by the deadly waves.’
    • ‘The epicenter of the earthquake was on land - unlike last month's quake - and caused no tsunami.’
    • ‘By the time the rain woke me the next morning my stomach rumbled like the epicentre of an earthquake and I realized I had no choice but to take destiny into my own hands.’
    • ‘She recalled an investigation from a couple of years back, when they discovered themselves at the epicentre of an earth tremor, the largest the country had seen for years.’
    • ‘The water shifted above a quake does not move across the ocean, i.e. a log floating at the surface above the epicentre would not have been carried to Thailand or Somalia.’
    • ‘This was the area that was orientated directly towards the epicenter of the earthquake, and therefore to the tsunami.’
    • ‘The point nearest to the surface is the epicentre and marks the site where the quake is strongest.’
    • ‘The geographic point directly above the focus is called the earthquake epicenter.’
    • ‘The most persuasive evidence for the existence of subduction zones is the narrow Benioff zones of earthquake epicentres dipping away from deep-sea trenches.’
    • ‘Police feared the number of casualties could rise even further once authorities reach remote areas, including a tiny island closest to the epicentre of the earthquake, which struck on Sunday night.’
    • ‘Relief workers arrived to find devastation in the region closest to the epicenter of the earthquake that spawned the killer tsunami.’
    • ‘The death-toll lag has come from the country nearest the underwater epicenter of the earthquake, Indonesia.’
    • ‘A Royal Navy survey ship has been sent to investigate the epicentre of the underwater earthquake which created the disastrous tsunami in the Indian Ocean.’
    1. 1.1 The central point of something, typically a difficult or unpleasant situation.
      ‘the patient was at the epicenter of concern’
      • ‘By the late 1980s and 1990s, however, there had been a shift in the epicenter of concern about ecology.’
      • ‘The epicentre of military action, and therefore, of military losses, in the European war was the German - Soviet war.’
      • ‘But round these parts eating is only a warm-up for the main event, as I discover when we later descend into the teeming lanes around Concert Square, epicentre of Liverpool nightlife.’
      • ‘And at the epicentre of the military build-up is it's air base.’


Late 19th century: from Greek epikentros ‘situated on a center’, from epi ‘upon’ + kentron ‘center’.