Definition of epiphany in US English:


(also Epiphany)


  • 1The manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12).

    • ‘The story of Epiphany is related by the first three Evangelists: Matthew, Mark and Luke.’
    • ‘The account of the magi is celebrated as an epiphany of our Lord.’
    1. 1.1 The festival commemorating the Epiphany on January 6.
      • ‘For Epiphany on January 6, a large round pastry is baked with a bean hidden in it.’
      • ‘Tomorrow is a Holy Day, The Feast of the Epiphany when there will be Masses at 11 am and 7.30 pm.’
      • ‘Catholics honor Three Kings Day on January 6, the feast of the Epiphany.’
      • ‘We Christians need Epiphany to complete our Christmas lesson.’
      • ‘The Greater Blessing of Water is performed on the Feast of the Epiphany (in the Julian calendar, January 19).’
      • ‘The Church celebrates 6 January as Epiphany, the day on which the Christ child was shown to the three Kings.’
      • ‘On Epiphany morning, the Lutheran-Episcopal full communion will be rendered official and celebrated at Washington's National Cathedral.’
      • ‘On January the 6th they have another special celebration called the Epiphany.’
      • ‘The nativity scene remains in its place until January 6, the Epiphany (the twelfth night after Christmas).’
      • ‘Tomorrow's feast of the Epiphany, or Little Christmas, is still a huge, well-celebrated event from Berlin to Barcelona.’
      • ‘The pope, who personally administers each of the church's seven sacraments during the course of each year, makes a practice of consecrating bishops on Epiphany.’
      • ‘The twelfth day of Christmas, 6 January, Epiphany day, is the day that Christians believe that the three wise men presented their gifts to the new born Christ.’
      • ‘The Church defines Christmas as the twelve days from Christmas Day until the eve of Epiphany.’
      • ‘The Christmas season in France comes to an end on Epiphany when we commemorate the coming of the three kings to Bethlehem.’
      • ‘In the past, the Roman Catholic Church required numerous fasts, including all Sundays during Lent, Easter week, and all Fridays except from Christmas to Epiphany and from Easter to Ascension.’
      • ‘It's an important date in the Catholic calendar, the Feast of the Epiphany, the day for celebrating the meeting between Christ and the Magi.’
      • ‘The journey from Epiphany to Lent brings us from the brightness of our dawning to the bleakness of our sinfulness.’
      • ‘Christians will be praying around the world during both Advent and Epiphany.’
      • ‘In Izalco, the period between Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated with nightly processions and Jeu Jeu, an Amerindian rain dance.’
      • ‘An indispensable part of any sermon on this Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany is the preacher's passing on the experiences of Christ's death and resurrection that this assembly has received.’
    2. 1.2 A manifestation of a divine or supernatural being.
      • ‘The Gita describes the epiphany of Vishnu as brighter than a thousand suns.’
      • ‘The owl is a symbol: an epiphany of Athena (goddess of wisdom.’
      • ‘A priestess of Artemis turned away an enemy attack with the help of an epiphany of the goddess herself.’
      • ‘The phrase "Pillar of Fire" alludes to Exodus 13:21, which describes an epiphany of Jehovah leading the nation of Israel to freedom from Egyptian bondage.’
      • ‘This encounter with God in the form of a Child is an epiphany of God's goodness and loving kindness for humanity.’
    3. 1.3 A moment of sudden revelation or insight.
      • ‘It was a moment of epiphany in the magic midsummer twilight.’
      • ‘Interspersed between such piercing points of pain and disappointment are moments of epiphany.’
      • ‘There is a crisis and a tragedy, enlightenment and epiphany.’
      • ‘I think I expected all of us to be hit by a bombardment of epiphanies that would forever change our perspective on things.’
      • ‘My grandmother's death was like an epiphany for me.’
      • ‘Then one day I had an epiphany and realized that you can go around in a bad mood all of the time, but it won't do any good.’
      • ‘Growing up on a farm, Greco never saw live dance until he was in his teens, although he recalls a moment of epiphany at the age of six when he knew he wanted to dance.’
      • ‘In a sudden epiphany, he had remembered that he still had Krillir's guns, silver weapons with eagles engraved on the handles.’
      • ‘And then you experience some form of traumatic epiphany, and change all those opinions.’
      • ‘He speaks with the zeal of someone who has undergone a political epiphany.’
      • ‘A little epiphany happened to me while riding home in the rain tonight.’
      • ‘As the park keeper loomed towards me to say, with a note of pity, that he was going to have to lock up in a minute, I had a moment of epiphany: things did not have to be like this.’
      • ‘Almost everyone in recovery has an story of an epiphany, the moment they knew they needed to stop using.’
      • ‘There are small epiphanies to be had, sudden revelations of the true nature of our place on the wheel of things.’
      • ‘‘Students are experiencing lots of epiphanies during this process,’ he continued.’
      • ‘Tom was staring at Simon and had a moment of epiphany.’
      • ‘Then Walker stopped for a second, and in that instant, it was as if he experienced a moment of epiphany.’
      • ‘I had a sudden epiphany, and slipped my hands nonchalantly into my pockets.’
      • ‘Then, as if we all have an epiphany at the same moment, we simultaneously yell out.’
      • ‘But I have to believe my epiphany was the decisive moment in my adult life.’


Middle English: from Greek epiphainein ‘reveal’. The sense relating to the Christian festival is via Old French epiphanie and ecclesiastical Latin epiphania.