An epoch is a period of time marked by certain characteristics: you might describe several peaceful decades in a nation's history as an epoch of peace.

In geologic time, an epoch is a division of a period, and an age is a division of an epoch. Epoch can also refer to a distinct and important period of history, or an event that marks such a period: an epoch in the world of ballet, for example. The noun epoch is from New Latin epocha, from Greek epochē, "pause, check, fixed time."

Definitions of epoch

n a period marked by distinctive character or reckoned from a fixed point or event

the era of Islam's ascendancy from the death of Mohammed until the 13th century; some Moslems still maintain that the Moslem world must always have a calif as head of the community
Christian era
the time period beginning with the supposed year of Christ's birth
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an era of existence or influence
age, historic period
an era of history having some distinctive feature
modern era
the present or recent times
the historic period preceding the Middle Ages in Europe
golden age
any period (sometimes imaginary) of great peace and prosperity and happiness
information age
a period beginning in the last quarter of the 20th century when information became easily accessible through publications and through the manipulation of information by computers and computer networks
Jazz Age
the 1920s in the United States characterized in the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald as a period of wealth, youthful exuberance, and carefree hedonism
the period during which a monarch is sovereign
turn of the century
the period from about ten years before to ten years after a new century
Type of:
period, period of time, time period
an amount of time

n a unit of geological time that is a subdivision of a period and is itself divided into ages

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Holocene epoch
approximately the last 10,000 years
Pleistocene epoch
from two million to 11 thousand years ago; extensive glaciation of the northern hemisphere; the time of human evolution
Pliocene epoch
from 13 million to 2 million years ago; growth of mountains; cooling of climate; more and larger mammals
Miocene epoch
from 25 million to 13 million years ago; appearance of grazing mammals
Oligocene epoch
from 40 million to 25 million years ago; appearance of sabertoothed cats
Eocene epoch
from 58 million to 40 million years ago; presence of modern mammals
Paleocene epoch
from 63 million to 58 million years ago; appearance of birds and earliest mammals
Type of:
geologic time, geological time
the time of the physical formation and development of the earth (especially prior to human history)

n (astronomy) an arbitrarily fixed date that is the point in time relative to which information (as coordinates of a celestial body) is recorded

date of reference
Type of:
the particular day, month, or year (usually according to the Gregorian calendar) that an event occurred

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