An example of an epithet is to refer to Alexander III, King of Macedon, as Alexander the Great.
- an adjective, noun, or phrase, often specif. a disparaging one, used to characterize some person or thing (Ex.: “egghead” for an intellectual)
- a descriptive name or title (Ex.: Philip the Fair, America the Beautiful)
Origin of epithetClassical Latin epitheton from Gr, literally , that which is added from epitithenai, to put on, add from epi-, on + tithenai, to put, do
- a. A term used to characterize a person or thing, such as rosy-fingered in rosy-fingered dawn or the Great in Catherine the Great.b. A term used as a descriptive substitute for the name or title of a person, such as The Great Emancipator for Abraham Lincoln.
- A disparaging or abusive word or phrase.
- Biology A word in the scientific name of an organism following the name of the genus and denoting a species, subspecies, variety, or cultivar, as sativa in Lactuca sativa.
Origin of epithetLatin epitheton from Greek neuter of epithetos added, attributed from epitithenai epithe- to add to epi- epi- tithenai to place ; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.
- ep′i·thet′ic ep′i·thet′i·cal
- A term used to characterize a person or thing.
- A term used as a descriptive substitute for the name or title of a person.
- An abusive or contemptuous word or phrase.
- (biology) A word in the scientific name of a taxon following the name of the genus or species. This applies only to formal names of plants, fungi and bacteria. In formal names of animals the corresponding term is the specific name.
From Middle French épithète, from Latin, from Ancient Greek ἐπίθετον (epitheton, “adjective”), the neuter of ἐπίθετος (epithetos, “attributed, added”), from ἐπιτιθέναι (epitithenai, “to add on”), from ἐπι- (epi-) + τιθέναι (tithenai, “to put”) (from Proto-Indo-European *dhe- (“to put, to do”)).