n. pl. e·piph·a·nies
1. Epiphany A Christian feast celebrating the manifestation of the divine nature of Jesus to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi, traditionally observed on January 6.
2. A revelatory manifestation of a divine being.
3. A sudden insight or intuitive understanding: "He had a painful epiphany about the absurdity of the job and quit" (Aleksandar Hemon).
[Middle English epiphanie, from Old French, from Late Latin epiphania, from Greek epiphaneia, manifestation, from epiphainesthai, to appear : epi-, forth; see EPI- + phainein, phan-, to show; see bhā-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
ep′i·phanic (ĕp′ə-fănĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.