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epoch (n.)

1610s, epocha, "point marking the start of a new period in time" (such as the founding of Rome, the birth of Christ, the Hegira), from Medieval Latin epocha, from Greek epokhe "stoppage, fixed point of time," from epekhein "to pause, take up a position," from epi "on" (see epi-) + ekhein "to hold" (from PIE root *segh- "to hold"). Transferred sense of "a period of time" is 1620s; geological usage (not a precise measurement) is from 1802.

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Definitions of epoch from WordNet

epoch (n.)
a period marked by distinctive character or reckoned from a fixed point or event;
Synonyms: era
epoch (n.)
(astronomy) an arbitrarily fixed date that is the point in time relative to which information (as coordinates of a celestial body) is recorded;
Synonyms: date of reference
epoch (n.)
a unit of geological time that is a subdivision of a period and is itself divided into ages;
From wordnet.princeton.edu