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" (from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine"). Of divine beings other than Christ, first recorded 1660s; general literary sense of "any manifestation or revelation" appeared 1840, first in De Quincey.
*bhā-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to shine."
It forms all or part of: aphotic; bandolier; banner; banneret; beacon; beckon; buoy; diaphanous; emphasis; epiphany; fantasia; fantasy; hierophant; pant (v.); -phane; phanero-; phantasm; phantasmagoria; phantom; phase; phene; phenetic; pheno-; phenology; phenomenon; phenyl; photic; photo-; photocopy; photogenic; photograph; photon; photosynthesis; phosphorus; phaeton; sycophant; theophany; tiffany; tryptophan.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhati "shines, glitters;" Greek phainein "bring to light, make appear," phantazein "make visible, display;" Old Irish ban "white, light, ray of light."
"type of thin, transparent fabric," c. 1600; earlier a common name for the festival of the Epiphany (early 14c.; in Anglo-French from late 13c.), from Old French Tifinie, Tiphanie "Epiphany" (c. 1200), from Late Latin Theophania "Theophany," another name for the Epiphany, from Greek theophania "the manifestation of a god" (see theophany).
Also popular in Old French and Middle English as a name given to girls born on Epiphany Day. The fabric sense is found only in English and is of obscure origin and uncertain relation to the other meanings, unless "holiday silk" or as a fanciful or playful allusion to "manifestation:"
The invention of that fine silke, Tiffanie, Sarcenet, and Cypres, which instead of apparell to cover and hide, shew women naked through them. [Holland's "Pliny," 1601]
The fashionable N.Y. jewelry firm Tiffany & Co. (1895) is named for its founder, goldsmith Charles L. Tiffany (1812-1902) and his son, Louis C. Tiffany (1848-1933), who was the art nouveau decorator noted for his glassware. The surname is attested in English from 1206.
"an appearance of God to man," 1630s, from Late Latin theophania, from Greek theos "god" (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts) + phainein "bring to light, cause to appear, show" (from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine"). In Middle English "Epiphany" (late 12c.). Ancient Greek Theophaneia was the name of a festival at Delphi during which the statues of Apollo and other gods were displayed to the public.
early 15c., "supernatural appearance or manifestation," from Anglo-French aparicion, Old French aparicion, aparoison (15c.), used in reference to the Epiphany (the revealing of the Christ child to the Wise Men), from Late Latin apparitionem (nominative apparitio) "an appearance," also "attendants," in classical Latin "service; servants," noun of action from past-participle stem of apparere "appear" (see appear). Meaning "ghost" first recorded c. 1600; the sense differentiation between appearance and apparition is that the latter tends to be unexpected or startling. Related: Apparitional.
"next in order after the eleventh; an ordinal numeral; being one of twelve equal parts into which a whole is regarded as divided;" late 14c., with -th (1), altering Middle English twelfte, from Old English twelfta, from twelf (see twelve). The earlier form is cognate with Old Norse tolfti, Danish tolvte, Old Frisian twelefta, Dutch twaalfde, Old High German zwelifto, German zwölfte .
As a noun meaning "a twelfth part," from 1550s. Twelfth Night is Old English twelftan niht "Twelfth Night," the eve of Epiphany, which comes twelve days after Christmas, formerly an occasion of social rites and a time of merrymaking.