I read a definition of the word "epiphany" in Merriam Webster Dictionaries which was:

An intuitive grasp of reality through something (such as an event) usually simple and striking

I wonder how how can something "simple" be "striking"?

  • 2
    Please explain why you think there is a problem with something being both simple and striking.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 10:21
  • @Colinfine- See that the word "simple" is preceded by "usually" which suggest that the thing has been acquired familiarity with. So, I don't think anything "familiar" is "striking" anymore.
    – Kelvin
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 10:56
  • Ah. You're misunderstanding "usually". It is not saying that the thing that is simple is familiar: it is saying that the kind of thing that gives an epiphany is often ("usually") both simple and striking.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 11:04

1 Answer 1


You can think of an intuitive grasp as "an insight," which you can experience as simple (clear). Such insight may or may be not striking (sudden and impressive).

In this context, simple refers to "not complex," and striking to "attracting attention." There's no contradiction between simple and striking. For example, you can see a rock rolling down a hill, which is a simple and striking event, and you get an insight and invent the wheel.

Intuitive means perceiving directly by intuition without rational thought [and, therefore, perceiving it as "simple"] (Dictionary.com)

  • @Jan- please note that the "usually" before "simple" connotes that the "something" has been got familiar with. So, I wonder if anything "familiar" remains "striking" anymore.
    – Kelvin
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 11:00
  • In the given sentence, "usually" does not apply just to simple. There is no phrase "usually simple" there. It means that people usually experience that as simple and striking at the same time.
    – Jan
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 11:12
  • By the first part of your answer, it is clear that you think that "simple and striking" are qualifying "an intuitive grasp" not that "something". Is it really so?
    – Kelvin
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 11:18
  • No, I don't think in my original sentence simple and striking refer to the experience of epiphany but rather to that something, as is clear from the comment of Colin Fine.
    – Kelvin
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 11:26
  • Yes, you are correct: "simple and striking" refers to "something" (to the event that triggers an intuitive grasp). I edited my answer.
    – Jan
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 11:50

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