1640s, from Late Latin aeon, from Greek aiōn "age, vital force; a period of existence, a lifetime, a generation; a long space of time," in plural, "eternity," from PIE root *aiw- "vital force, life, long life, eternity." Related: Eonian; eonic.
Entries linking to eon
also *ayu-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "vital force, life; long life, eternity."
It forms all or part of: age; aught (n.1) "something; anything;" aye (adv.) "always, ever;" Ayurvedic; coetaneous; coeval; each; eon; eternal; eternity; ever; every; ewigkeit; hygiene; longevity; medieval; nay; never; no; primeval; sempiternal; tarnation; utopia.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit ayu- "life;" Avestan aiiu "age, life(time);" Greek aiōn "age, vital force; a period of existence, a lifetime, a generation; a long space of time," in plural, "eternity;" Latin aevum "space of time, eternity;" Gothic aiws "age, eternity," Old Norse ævi "lifetime," German ewig "everlasting," Old English a "ever, always."
digraph in certain Greek or Latin words; it developed in later Latin where classical Latin used separate letters. The Latin digraph also was used to transliterate Greek -ai- (as in aegis). When Latinate words flooded English in the 16c. it came with them, but as an etymological device only, and it was pronounced simply "e" and eventually reduced to that letter in writing (as in eon, Egypt) in most cases, excepting (until recently) proper names (Cæsar, Æneas, Æsculapius, Æsop). When divided and representing two syllables (aerate, aerial) it sometimes is written aë.
oh, that happened eons ago