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  • Noun

epiphany

i-PIF-uh-nee

Context
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Amira was walking down the street one morning when she experienced a sudden moment of clarity or epiphany about her life: she was unhappy because she chose unhappiness. That deep epiphany or moment of understanding altered her life in previously unimagined ways, with the result that she became a very happy and cheerful woman. She often joked that if someone were to draw a cartoon of that day, he or she would have to indicate her epiphany by drawing a lightning bolt striking from the blue.

Quiz: What might someone say when they have an epiphany?

  • “I’ll have to try again tomorrow.”
  • “Aha! I finally understand!”
  • “I really wish I knew what to do.”

Memory Hook
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Handy Pipe I suppose that one way to get an instant epiphany is to smoke that handy pipe of yours, but that doesn't really count.

Examples
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  • I had an epiphany a few years ago where I was out at a celebrity party and it suddenly dawned on me that I had yet to meet a celebrity who is as smart and interesting as any of my friends. — Moby Moby
  • The series is the result of a church-pew epiphany in 2002 when Rice decided 'all my future work would be dedicated to the Lord.' —USA Today
  • 'The stars aligned for Craig, and he had this epiphany,' explains David Rocchio, recounting his business partner’s concern about America’s future prosperity when he came into the office the next morning. —The Christian Science Monitor
  • Lavin’s epiphany came at half-time of a game against North Carolina on Dec. 23, when he decided to implement a full-court defense full time. —Sports Illustrated

Word Ingredients
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epi- forth
phan cause to appear, show
-y state or condition

An epiphany is “that which shows forth,” giving clarity and wisdom to the beholder.

Word Constellation
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Epiphany