Epithet Definition

ĕpə-thĕt
epithets
noun
epithets
An adjective, noun, or phrase, often specif. a disparaging one, used to characterize some person or thing (Ex.: “egghead” for an intellectual)
Webster's New World
A descriptive name or title (Ex.: Philip the Fair, America the Beautiful)
Webster's New World
A disparaging or abusive word or phrase.
American Heritage
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.
American Heritage Medicine
Epithet is defined as a term used to give a characteristic to whatever or whomever is being described.
An example of an epithet is to refer to Alexander III, King of Macedon, as Alexander the Great.
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Other Word Forms of Epithet

Noun

Singular:
epithet
Plural:
epithets

Origin of Epithet

  • 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”)).

    From Wiktionary

  • Latin epitheton from Greek neuter of epithetos added, attributed from epitithenai epithe- to add to epi- epi- tithenai to place dhē- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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