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Epic vs. Epoch — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 18, 2023
Epic refers to a long narrative poem or grand-scale event, while Epoch denotes a specific period in history or someone's life.
Epic vs. Epoch — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Epic and Epoch

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Key Differences

Epic and Epoch, despite having somewhat similar phonetics, serve distinct roles in the English language. An Epic typically refers to a lengthy narrative poem that recounts the adventures of heroic figures. On the other hand, an Epoch signifies a specific period of time in history, often marked by notable events or characteristics.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 18, 2023
The term Epic, when explored in literary contexts, denotes poems that are grand in both theme and length. These poems, often ancient, present heroic tales central to a cultural or national background. In contrast, Epoch is never used in a literary sense; it's a chronological term, delineating significant periods or eras in history.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 18, 2023
Epics, besides being literary masterpieces, can also describe events, actions, or tasks of immense scale and significance. For instance, a person might refer to a challenging project as an "epic undertaking." Conversely, Epoch remains consistent in its meaning, always pointing to a noteworthy timeframe, either globally, like the Renaissance, or personally, such as milestones in someone's life.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 18, 2023
Additionally, in modern slang, Epic has been appropriated to describe something exceptionally good or impressive. This adaptation showcases the versatility of the word, while Epoch remains more rigid, always tethered to the concept of time. Epoch doesn’t have a widespread colloquial use like Epic does.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 18, 2023

Comparison Chart

Primary Meaning

Long narrative poem.
Specific period in history.
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Sep 18, 2023
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Usage in Context

Literary or describing grand events.
Chronological or historical.
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Sep 18, 2023

Colloquial Adaptations

Something exceptional or impressive.
None.
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Sep 18, 2023

Relation to Time

Not time-specific.
Always time-specific.
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Sep 18, 2023

Associated with Heroes

Yes, recounts heroic tales.
No, relates to time periods.
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Sep 18, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Epic

Remarkably impressive.
The concert last night was absolutely Epic!
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Sep 18, 2023

Epoch

A particular period of time in history or a person's life.
The Renaissance was an Epoch of great artistic achievement.
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Sep 18, 2023

Epic

Narrating the deeds of heroes.
The Epic tale spoke of valor and sacrifice.
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Sep 18, 2023

Epoch

An era marked by specific events or developments.
The digital revolution ushered in an Epoch of rapid technological advancement.
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Sep 18, 2023

Epic

A lengthy narrative poem.
The Iliad is an Epic recounting the Trojan War.
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Sep 18, 2023

Epoch

A point in time chosen as a reference.
The atomic clock is set to an Epoch agreed upon internationally.
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Sep 18, 2023

Epic

A series of events considered appropriate to an epic.
The book was an epic in four volumes.
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Nov 03, 2021

Epoch

The beginning of a distinctive period in history.
The discovery of electricity marked a new Epoch.
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Sep 18, 2023

Epic

An extended narrative poem in elevated or dignified language, celebrating the feats of a legendary or traditional hero.
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Nov 03, 2021

Epoch

A specific instant in time, chosen as the point of reference or zero value of a system that involves identifying instants of time.
Datum
UNIX epoch; J2000 epoch
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Nov 03, 2021

Epic

A literary or dramatic composition that resembles an extended narrative poem celebrating heroic feats.
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Nov 03, 2021

Epoch

(geology) A geochronologic unit of hundreds of thousands to millions of years; a subdivision of a period, and subdivided into ages (or sometimes subepochs).
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Epic

A series of events considered appropriate to an epic
The epic of the Old West.
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Epoch

A long division of geologic time.
The Pleistocene Epoch was characterized by the last Ice Age.
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Sep 18, 2023

Epic

Of, constituting, having to do with, or suggestive of a literary epic
An epic poem.
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Epoch

In chronology and periodization, an epoch or reference epoch is an instant in time chosen as the origin of a particular calendar era. The "epoch" serves as a reference point from which time is measured.
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Epic

Surpassing the usual or ordinary, particularly in scope or size
"A vast musical panorama ... it requires an epic musical understanding to do it justice" (Tim Page).
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Epoch

A particular period of history, especially one considered remarkable or noteworthy.
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Epic

Heroic and impressive in quality
"Here in the courtroom ... there was more of that epic atmosphere, the extra amperage of a special moment" (Scott Turow).
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Nov 03, 2021

Epoch

A unit of geologic time that is a division of a period.
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Epic

An extended narrative poem in elevated or dignified language, celebrating the feats of a deity, demigod (heroic epic), other legend or traditional hero.
The Icelandic epic took all night to recite.
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Nov 03, 2021

Epoch

(Astronomy) An instant in time that is arbitrarily selected as a point of reference for specification of celestial coordinates.
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Epic

(computing) In software development, a large or extended user story.
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Epoch

A particular period of history, or of a person's life, especially one considered noteworthy or remarkable.
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Epic

Of or relating to an epic.
Beowulf is an epic poem.
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Epoch

A notable event which marks the beginning of such a period.
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Nov 03, 2021

Epic

Momentously heroic; grand in scale or character
The epic defense was rewarded with the highest military decorations
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Nov 03, 2021

Epoch

(ML) One complete presentation of the training data set to an iterative machine learning algorithm.
The neural network was trained over 500 epochs.
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Nov 03, 2021

Epic

Extending beyond the usual or ordinary.
The after-prom party was truly epic.
You made an epic mistake.
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Nov 03, 2021

Epoch

To divide (data) into segments by time period.
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Epic

That is an epimorphism.
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Nov 03, 2021

Epoch

A fixed point of time, established in history by the occurrence of some grand or remarkable event; a point of time marked by an event of great subsequent influence; as, the epoch of the creation; the birth of Christ was the epoch which gave rise to the Christian era.
In divers ages, . . . divers epochs of time were used.
Great epochs and crises in the kingdom of God.
The acquittal of the bishops was not the only event which makes the 30th of June, 1688, a great epoch in history.
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Nov 03, 2021

Epic

Narrated in a grand style; pertaining to or designating a kind of narrative poem, usually called an heroic poem, in which real or fictitious events, usually the achievements of some hero, are narrated in an elevated style.
The epic poem treats of one great, complex action, in a grand style and with fullness of detail.
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Nov 03, 2021

Epoch

A period of time, longer or shorter, remarkable for events of great subsequent influence; a memorable period; as, the epoch of maritime discovery, or of the Reformation.
The influence of Chaucer continued to live even during the dreary interval which separates from one another two important epochs of our literary history.
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Nov 03, 2021

Epic

A long narrative poem telling of a hero's deeds
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Nov 03, 2021

Epoch

A division of time characterized by the prevalence of similar conditions of the earth; commonly a minor division or part of a period.
The long geological epoch which stored up the vast coal measures.
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Epic

Very imposing or impressive; surpassing the ordinary (especially in size or scale);
An epic voyage
Of heroic proportions
Heroic sculpture
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Epoch

The date at which a planet or comet has a longitude or position.
The capture of Constantinople is an epoch in the history of Mahometanism; but the flight of Mahomet is its era.
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Epic

Constituting or having to do with or suggestive of a literary epic;
Epic tradition
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Epoch

A period marked by distinctive character or reckoned from a fixed point or event
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Epic

Grand in scale or character.
Their cross-country journey was an Epic adventure.
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Sep 18, 2023

Epoch

(astronomy) the precise date that is the point of reference for which information (as coordinates of a celestial body) is referred
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Epic

Pertaining to or characteristic of an epic.
The movie had Epic battles that mesmerized the audience.
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Sep 18, 2023

Epoch

A unit of geological time
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Nov 03, 2021

Common Curiosities

Which is older, Epic poems or the use of Epochs?

It's hard to determine, but Epic poems like the "Iliad" are ancient.
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Sep 18, 2023

Are Epic and Epoch interchangeable?

No, Epic refers to a grand tale or event, while Epoch is a period in time.
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Sep 18, 2023

Can a movie be described as Epic?

Yes, if it's grand in scale or theme.
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Sep 18, 2023

Is the term Epic limited to literature?

No, it can describe any grand event or scale.
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Sep 18, 2023

Can something be both an Epic and an Epoch?

Conceptually yes; a grand tale (Epic) set in a historical period (Epoch).
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Sep 18, 2023

Can an individual's life have multiple Epochs?

Yes, like childhood, adulthood, etc.
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Sep 18, 2023

Is Epoch always about global history?

No, it can refer to any significant period, even in an individual's life.
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Sep 18, 2023

Are Epochs always long durations?

Often, but they can be shorter, especially personal milestones.
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Sep 18, 2023

Is every long poem an Epic?

No, it must be grand in theme, often involving heroism.
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Sep 18, 2023

Why don't we use Epoch in literature like Epic?

Epoch specifically refers to time periods, not narrative styles.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 18, 2023

Can an Epic be fictional?

Yes, many Epics, while rooted in cultural tales, contain fictional elements.
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Sep 18, 2023

Are all Epochs named, like the Renaissance?

Not necessarily, some are just recognized by specific dates or events.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 18, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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