1. a prefix occurring in loanwords from Greek, where it meant “upon,” “on,” “over,” “near,” “at,” “before,” “after” (epicedium; epidermis; epigene; epitome); on this model, used in the formation of new compound words (epicardium; epinephrine).


  1. on; upon; above; overepidermis; epicentre
  2. in addition toepiphenomenon
  3. afterepigenesis; epilogue
  4. near; close toepicalyx

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” (cf. 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”). Before unaspirated vowels, reduced to ep-; before aspirated vowels, eph-. A productive prefix in Greek; also used in modern scientific compounds (e.g. epicenter).


  1. On; upon:epineural.
  2. Over; above:epibasal.
  3. Around:epicystitis.
  4. Close to; near:epimer.
  5. Besides:epiphenomenon.
  6. After:epigenesis.
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