ephebic (adj.) Look up ephebic at Dictionary.com
1880, from Latinized form of Greek ephebikos "of or for an ephebe," from ephebos "one arrived at puberty, one of age 18-20," from epi "upon" (see epi-) + hebe "early manhood," from PIE *yegw-a- "power, youth, strength." In classical Athens, a youth of 18 underwent his dokimasia, had his hair cut off, and was enrolled as a citizen. His chief occupation for the next two years was garrison duty.
ephedra (n.) Look up ephedra at Dictionary.com
genus of low, branchy desert shrubs, 1914, from Modern Latin (1737) from Greek ephedra, a name given by Pliny to the horsetail, literally "sitting upon," from fem. of ephedros "sitting or seated upon; sitting at or near," from epi "on" (see epi-) + hedra "seat, base, chair; face of a geometric solid" (see sedentary). The reason for the name is not known.
ephedrine (n.) Look up ephedrine at Dictionary.com
1889, named 1887 by Japanese organic chemist Nagai Nagayoshi (1844-1929), from the plant ephedra, from which it was first extracted, + chemical suffix -ine (2).
ephemera (n.) Look up ephemera at Dictionary.com
late 14c., originally a medical term, from Medieval Latin ephemera (febris) "(fever) lasting a day," from fem. of ephemerus, from Greek ephemeros "daily, for the day," also "lasting or living only one day, short-lived," from epi "on" (see epi-) + hemerai, dative of hemera "day," from PIE *amer- "day." Sense extended 17c. to short-lived insects (Modern Latin ephemera musca) and flowers; general sense of "thing of transitory existence" is first attested 1751. Compare Greek ephemeroi "men," literally "creatures of a day."
ephemeral (adj.) Look up ephemeral at Dictionary.com
1560s; see ephemera + -al (1). Originally of diseases and lifespans, "lasting but one day;" extended sense of "transitory" is from 1630s. Related: Ephemerally; ephemerality.
ephemeris (n.) Look up ephemeris at Dictionary.com
table showing predicted positions of heavenly bodies, 1550s, Modern Latin, from Greek ephemeris "diary, journal, calendar," from ephemeros "daily" (see ephemera). The classical plural is ephemerides.
ephemeron (n.) Look up ephemeron at Dictionary.com
"insect which lives for a very short time in its winged state," 1620s, from Greek (zoon) ephemeron, neuter of adjective ephemeros "living but a day" (see ephemera). Figurative use by 1771.
Ephesians (n.) Look up Ephesians at Dictionary.com
New Testament epistle, late 14c., addressed to Christian residents of the Ionian Greek city of Ephesus, in what now is western Turkey.
Ephesus Look up Ephesus at Dictionary.com
Greek city in ancient Asia Minor, center of worship for Artemis, Latinized form of Greek Ephesos, traditionally derived from ephoros "overseer," in reference to its religious significance, but this might be folk etymology. Related: Ephesine.
ephialtes (n.) Look up ephialtes at Dictionary.com
nightmare or demon that causes nightmares, c. 1600, from Greek Ephialtes, name of a demon supposed to cause nightmares; the ancient explanation is that it was from ephallesthai "to leap upon," which suits the sense, but OED finds "considerable" phonological difficulties with this.
ephod (n.) Look up ephod at Dictionary.com
Jewish priestly vestment, late 14c., from Hebrew ephod, from aphad "to put on."
ephor (n.) Look up ephor at Dictionary.com
Spartan magistrate, 1580s, from Greek ephoros "overseer," from epi- "over" (see epi-) + horan "to see," possibly from PIE root *wer- (4) "to perceive" (see ward (n.)).
Ephraim Look up Ephraim at Dictionary.com
masc. personal name, in Old Testament the younger son of Joseph, also the name of the tribe descended from him, and sometimes used figuratively for "Kingdom of Israel;" Greek form of Hebrew Ephrayim, a derivative of parah "was fruitful" (related to Aramaic pera "fruit").
epi- Look up epi- at Dictionary.com
before vowels reduced to ep-, before aspirated vowels eph-, word-forming element meaning "on, upon, above," also "in addition to; toward, among," from Greek epi "upon, at, close upon (in space or time), on the occasion of, in addition," from PIE *epi, *opi "near, at, against" (source also of Sanskrit api "also, besides;" Avestan aipi "also, to, toward;" Armenian ev "also, and;" Latin ob "toward, against, in the way of;" Oscan op, Greek opi- "behind;" Hittite appizzis "younger;" Lithuanian ap- "about, near;" Old Church Slavonic ob "on"). A productive prefix in Greek; also used in modern scientific compounds (such as epicenter).
epic (adj.) Look up epic at Dictionary.com
1580s, "pertaining to or constituting a lengthy heroic poem," via Middle French épique or directly from Latin epicus, from Greek epikos, from epos "a word; a tale, story; promise, prophecy, proverb; poetry in heroic verse," from PIE *wekw- "to speak" (see voice (n.)). Extended sense of "grand, heroic" first recorded in English 1731. From 1706 as a noun in reference to an epic poem, "A long narrative told on a grand scale of time and place, featuring a larger-than-life protagonist and heroic actions" [Miller Williams, "Patterns of Poetry"]. Earlier as "an epic poet" (1630s).
epicene (adj.) Look up epicene at Dictionary.com
"belonging to or including both sexes," mid-15c., epycen, originally a grammatical term for nouns that may denote either gender, from Latin epicoenus "common," from Greek epikoinos "common to many, promiscuous," from epi "on" (see epi-) + koinos "common" (see coeno-). English has no need of it in its grammatical sense. Extended sense of "characteristic of both sexes" first recorded in English c. 1600; that of "effeminate" is from 1630s.
epicenter (n.) Look up epicenter at Dictionary.com
1885 in seismology, "point on the earth's surface directly above the center or focus of an earthquake," from Modern Latin epicentrum (1879 in geological use); see epi- + center (n.). Related: Epicentral (1866).
epicentre (n.) Look up epicentre at Dictionary.com
chiefly British English spelling of epicenter; for spelling, see -re.
epicure (n.) Look up epicure at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "follower of Epicurus," from Latinized form of Greek Epicouros (341-270 B.C.E.), Athenian philosopher who taught that pleasure is the highest good and identified virtue as the greatest pleasure; the first lesson recalled, the second forgotten, and the name used pejoratively for "one who gives himself up to sensual pleasure" (1560s), especially "glutton, sybarite" (1774). Epicurus's school was opposed by the stoics, who first gave his name a reproachful sense. Non-pejorative meaning "one who cultivates refined taste in food and drink" is from 1580s.
epicurean (n.) Look up epicurean at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "follower of the philosophical system of Epicurus," from Old French Epicurien, or from epicure + -ian. From 1570s as "one devoted to pleasure." As an adjective, attested from 1580s in the philosophical sense and 1640s with the meaning "pleasure-loving."
epicureanism (n.) Look up epicureanism at Dictionary.com
1751, with reference to the philosophical system of Epicurus; 1847 in a general sense "attachment to or indulgence in luxurious habits," from epicurean + -ism. Earlier was epicurism (1570s).
epicureous (adj.) Look up epicureous at Dictionary.com
also epicurious, "epicurean," 1550s, an obsolete word from 16c.-17c., from Latin epicureus, from Greek epikoureios, from epikouros (see epicure).
epicycle (n.) Look up epicycle at Dictionary.com
"small circle moving on or around another circle," late 14c., from Late Latin epicyclus, from Greek epikyklos, from epi (see epi-) + kyklos "circle, wheel, circular motion, cycle of events" (see cycle (n.)). Related: Epicyclic.
epidemic (adj.) Look up epidemic at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, "common to or affecting a whole people," originally and usually, though not etymologically, in reference to diseases, from French épidémique, from épidemié "an epidemic disease," from Medieval Latin epidemia, from Greek epidemia "a stay in a place; prevalence of an epidemic disease" (especially the plague), from epi "among, upon" (see epi-) + demos "people, district" (see demotic).
epidemic (n.) Look up epidemic at Dictionary.com
1757, "an epidemic disease, a temporary prevalence of a disease throughout a community," from epidemic (adj.); earlier epideme (see epidemy). An Old English noun for this (persisting in Middle English) was man-cwealm.
epidemiology (n.) Look up epidemiology at Dictionary.com
"study of epidemics, science of epidemic diseases," 1850, from Greek epidemios, literally "among the people, of one's countrymen at home" (see epidemic) + -logy. Related: Epidemiological; epidemiologist.
epidemy (n.) Look up epidemy at Dictionary.com
"an epidemic disease," especially the plague, late 15c., ipedemye, impedyme, from Old French ypidime (12c., Modern French épidémie), from Late Latin epidemia (see epidemic (adj.)).
epidermis (n.) Look up epidermis at Dictionary.com
1620s, from Late Latin epidermis, from Greek epidermis "the outer skin," from epi "on" (see epi-) + derma "skin" (see derma). Related: Epidermal; epidermic.
epididymis (n.) Look up epididymis at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, "fleshy mass at the back of the testicles," Modern Latin, literally "that which is on the testicles," from Greek epididymis, a word probably coined by Greek anatomist Herophilus (c. 353-280 B.C.E.) from epi "on" (see epi-) + didymos "testicle," literally "double, twofold" (adj.). An acceptable Englishing of it is in Richard Brome's "The Court Beggar" (1652):
Strangelove. I doe not slight your act in the discovery,
But your imposture, sir, and beastly practise
Was before whisper'd to me by your Doctor
To save his Epididamies
Related: Epididymal.
epidural (adj.) Look up epidural at Dictionary.com
1873, "situated on or affecting the dura mater," from epi- "on" + dura mater + -al (1). The noun meaning "injection into the epidural region" (usually given during childbirth) is attested by 1966.
epigastrium (n.) Look up epigastrium at Dictionary.com
1680s, Modern Latin, from Greek epigastrion "region of the abdomen from the breasts to the navel," neuter of epigastrios "over the belly," from epi "on, above" (see epi-) + gaster "stomach" (see gastric). The region below the navel is the hypogastrium.
epiglottis (n.) Look up epiglottis at Dictionary.com
1610s, from Late Latin epiglottis, from Greek epiglottis, literally "(that which is) upon the tongue," from epi "on" (see epi-) + glottis, from glotta, variant of glossa "tongue" (see gloss (n.2)). An earlier form was epiglote (early 15c.), from Old French epiglotte. Related: Epiglottic.
epigone (n.) Look up epigone at Dictionary.com
also epigon, "undistinguished scion of mighty ancestors," (sometimes in Latin plural form epigoni), 1865, from Greek epigonoi, in classical use with reference to the sons of the Seven who warred against Thebes; plural of epigonos "offspring, successor, posterity," noun use of adjective meaning "born afterward," from epi "close upon" (in time), see epi-, + -gonos "birth, offspring," from root of gignesthai "to be born" related to genos "race, birth, descent" (see genus).
epigram (n.) Look up epigram at Dictionary.com
also epigramme, mid-15c., from Middle French épigramme, from Latin epigramma "an inscription," from Greek epigramma "inscription (especially in verse) on a tomb, public monument, etc.; a written estimate," from epigraphein "to write on, inscribe" (see epigraph). "The term was afterward extended to any little piece of verse expressing with precision a delicate or ingenious thought" [Century Dictionary]. Related: Epigrammatist.
epigrammatic (adj.) Look up epigrammatic at Dictionary.com
1704, shortened from epigrammatical (c. 1600); see epigram.
epigraph (n.) Look up epigraph at Dictionary.com
1620s, "inscription on a building, statue, etc.," from Greek epigraphe "an inscription," from epigraphein "to mark the surface, just pierce; write on, inscribe; to register; inscribe one's name, endorse," from epi "on" (see epi-) + graphein "to write" (see -graphy). Sense of "motto; short, pithy sentence at the head of a book or chapter" first recorded in English 1844. Related: Epigraphic; epigraphical.
epilepsy (n.) Look up epilepsy at Dictionary.com
1570s, from Middle French epilepsie (16c.), from Late Latin epilepsia, from Greek epilepsis "epilepsy," literally "a seizure," from epilambanein "to lay hold of, seize upon, attack," especially of diseases, but also of events, armies, etc., from epi "upon" (see epi-) + lepsis "seizure," from leps-, future stem of lambanein "take hold of, grasp" (see analemma). Earlier was epilencie (late 14c.), from Middle French epilence, a variant form influenced by pestilence. The native name in English was falling sickness.
epileptic (adj.) Look up epileptic at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, from French épileptique, from Late Latin epilepticus, from Greek epileptikos, from stem of epilambanein "to seize" (see epilepsy). Earlier adjective was epilentic (late 14c.), from a Greek variant. As a noun from 1650s.
epilogue (n.) Look up epilogue at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Middle French epilogue (13c.), from Latin epilogus, from Greek epilogos "a conclusion, conclusion of a speech, inference," from epi "upon, in addition" (see epi-) + logos "a speaking" (see lecture (n.)). Earliest English sense was theatrical.
epinephrine (n.) Look up epinephrine at Dictionary.com
"adrenaline," 1883, from epi- "upon" + Greek nephros "kidney" (see nephron) + chemical suffix -ine (2). So called because the adrenal glands are on the kidneys.
epiphany (n.) Look up epiphany at Dictionary.com
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, festival held in commemoration of the appearance of a god at some particular place" (in New Testament, "advent or manifestation of Christ"), from epiphanes "manifest, conspicuous," from epiphainein "to manifest, display, show off; come suddenly into view," 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.
epiphenomenon (n.) Look up epiphenomenon at Dictionary.com
"secondary symptom," 1706, from epi- + phenomenon. Plural is epiphenomena. Related: Epiphenomenal.
epiphyte (n.) Look up epiphyte at Dictionary.com
"plant which grows upon another plant," 1827, from epi- "upon" + -phyte "plant." Related: Epiphytal; epiphytous (1816).
episcopacy (n.) Look up episcopacy at Dictionary.com
1640s, "government of the church by bishops;" 1650s, "a bishop's period in office;" see episcopal + -cy.
episcopal (adj.) Look up episcopal at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "belonging to or characteristic of bishops," from Middle French épiscopal (14c.), from Late Latin episcopalis, from Latin episcopus "an overseer" (see bishop). Reference to a church governed by bishops is 1752. With a capital E-, the ordinary designation of the Anglican church in the U.S. and Scotland, so called because its bishops are superior to other clergy. Chambers' "Cyclopaedia" (1751) has episcopicide "the murdering of a bishop."
Episcopalian Look up Episcopalian at Dictionary.com
1738 (n.), 1768 (adj.), from episcopal + -ian. Related: Episcopalianism (by 1821).
The awkward derivative episcopalianism, seems to be used for episcopacy, a good English word, which was quite sufficient for the purposes of our honest forefathers, who were strangers to this ridiculous innovation. The word complained of is also reprehensible on the ground of its sectarian termination. ["On the Terms Episcopalian and Episcopalianism," "The Gospel Advocate," October 1821]
episiotomy (n.) Look up episiotomy at Dictionary.com
1869, from comb. form of Greek epision "the pubic region" + -tomy "a cutting."
episode (n.) Look up episode at Dictionary.com
1670s, "commentary between two choric songs in a Greek tragedy," also "an incidental narrative or digression within a story, poem, etc.," from French épisode or directly from Greek epeisodion "an episode," literally "an addition," noun use of neuter of epeisodios "coming in besides," from epi "in addition" (see epi-) + eisodos "a coming in, entrance."

The second element is a compound of eis "into" + hodos "a way, path; a journey; a method, system," from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield" (see cede). Transferred sense of "outstanding incident, experience" first recorded in English 1773. Transferred by 1930s to individual broadcasts of serial radio programs.
episodic (adj.) Look up episodic at Dictionary.com
1711, from episode + -ic. Episodical is from 1660s.
epistasis (n.) Look up epistasis at Dictionary.com
"the checking of a discharge," medical Latin, from Greek epistasis "a stopping, stoppage, a halting," from epi "upon" (see epi-) + stasis "a stopping or standing" (see stasis).