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Epic vs. Epoch: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Epic is a term primarily used to describe a long narrative poem about heroic deeds that are significant to a culture or nation. In contrast, Epoch refers to a distinct period in history, marked by notable events, developments, or unique characteristics.
Epic vs. Epoch

Key Differences

In literature, an Epic often embodies the values and morals of a society, presenting larger-than-life heroes and complex narratives. On the other hand, an Epoch is a chronological term, defining a specific timeframe in history distinguished by particular events or phenomena.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 13, 2023
Epic can also be used in a broader sense to describe anything impressively great, such as an epic journey. In contrast, Epoch is used in geology to describe a subdivision of geologic time, indicating a significant phase in Earth's history.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 13, 2023
The word Epic comes from the Greek "epos," meaning word or story, highlighting its literary roots. Conversely, Epoch derives from Greek "epochē," meaning a pause or cessation, metaphorically used to denote a new historical period.
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In modern usage, Epic has extended to describe films, events, or achievements that are extraordinarily grand. Meanwhile, Epoch is often used in discussions of significant historical or scientific milestones, like the Industrial Revolution or the Digital Epoch.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

A long narrative poem about heroic deeds.
A period of time in history or a person's life.
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Usage in Literature

Refers to storytelling and literature.
Not typically used in literature.
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Time Context

No specific time reference.
Specific historical or geologic period.
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Common Associations

Heroism, grand scale, cultural significance.
Historical changes, eras, significant developments.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

Origin of Word

Greek "epos" meaning story.
Greek "epochē" meaning a pause or period.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Epic and Epoch Definitions

Epic

A long narrative poem about heroic deeds.
Homer's Odyssey is an ancient example of an epic.
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Epoch

A period of time in history or a person's life, typically one marked by notable events.
The Renaissance was an epoch of great artistic achievement.
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Nov 13, 2023

Epic

Pertaining to a grand or monumental scale.
The movie's battle scenes were truly epic.
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Epoch

A point in time chosen as the origin of a particular era.
The founding of the city marked a new epoch in their history.
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Epic

Of, relating to, or characteristic of an era or a genre.
Her epic style of storytelling captivated the audience.
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Epoch

A significant period in someone's life or history.
His appointment as CEO marked an epoch in the company's history.
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Epic

Extremely good or excellent.
The concert was epic, exceeding all expectations.
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Epoch

A division of time in geology.
The Pleistocene epoch was crucial for the development of modern humans.
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Epic

Remarkable or impressive.
Their cross-country road trip was an epic adventure.
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Epoch

A moment or period of significant change.
The invention of the internet started a new epoch in communication.
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Epic

An extended narrative poem in elevated or dignified language, celebrating the feats of a legendary or traditional hero.
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Oct 19, 2023

Epoch

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

A literary or dramatic composition that resembles an extended narrative poem celebrating heroic feats.
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Epoch

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

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

Of, constituting, having to do with, or suggestive of a literary epic
An epic poem.
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Oct 19, 2023

Epoch

A particular period of history, or of a person's life, especially one considered noteworthy or remarkable.
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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 notable event which marks the beginning of such a period.
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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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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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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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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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Oct 19, 2023

Epic

A series of events considered appropriate to an epic.
The book was an epic in four volumes.
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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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Epic

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

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

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

Momentously heroic; grand in scale or character
The epic defense was rewarded with the highest military decorations
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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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Epic

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

That is an epimorphism.
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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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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

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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Epoch

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

A long narrative poem telling of a hero's deeds
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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

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

A unit of geological time
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Epic

Constituting or having to do with or suggestive of a literary epic;
Epic tradition
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is an epic?

An epic is a long narrative poem or story that typically celebrates the heroic deeds and adventures of a legendary figure or group.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

What distinguishes an epic from other types of literature?

Epics are known for their grand scope, elevated language, and focus on heroic quests and legendary characters.
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Nov 13, 2023

Can modern works be considered epics?

Yes, modern novels, films, or even video games that depict grand adventures and heroism are often referred to as epics.
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Nov 13, 2023

Is the term "epic" used outside of literature?

Yes, "epic" is sometimes used informally to describe any impressive or monumental achievement.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

Are there different types of epics?

Yes, there are primary epics (originating from oral traditions) and secondary epics (composed by known authors).
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What is the role of myth and legend in epics?

Myths and legends often serve as the foundation for epic narratives, providing rich cultural and historical context.
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Can an epic have moral or cultural significance?

Yes, epics often convey moral lessons and reflect the values and beliefs of the culture from which they originate.
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Can epochs be geological in nature?

Yes, in geology, an epoch is a unit of geological time that is part of a larger period and era.
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What are some famous examples of epic literature?

Examples include "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" by Homer and "Beowulf."
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What is an epoch?

An epoch is a distinct period of time in history or a specific era marked by notable events or characteristics.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

Is an epic always a written work?

While epics are often written, they can also be oral traditions passed down through generations.
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Nov 13, 2023

How does an epoch differ from an era or age?

An epoch is a smaller and more specific division of time within an era or age.
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Nov 13, 2023

Are epochs always defined by specific dates?

No, epochs are often defined based on significant geological, historical, or cultural events.
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Nov 13, 2023

What is an epic hero?

An epic hero is the central character in an epic, typically possessing extraordinary qualities and embarking on heroic journeys.
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What is the relationship between epochs and eras?

Eras are larger divisions of time that contain multiple epochs within them.
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Can the term "epoch" be used in a non-scientific context?

Yes, "epoch" can also refer to distinct periods in cultural, political, or technological history.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

How do historians and scientists determine the boundaries of epochs?

Boundaries are often determined by analyzing geological or historical evidence, such as rock layers, fossils, or significant events.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

Can an epoch be considered a turning point in history or geology?

Yes, epochs are often associated with pivotal moments or significant changes in the natural world or human civilization.
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Nov 13, 2023

What is the significance of epochs in paleontology?

Epochs are used to categorize and study the history of life on Earth, especially in the context of the fossil record.
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What is the Holocene epoch?

The Holocene epoch is the current epoch in the geological timescale, marked by the present interglacial period.
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Nov 13, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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