- any word or phrase applied to a person or thing to describe an actual or attributed quality: “Richard the Lion-Hearted” is an epithet of Richard I.
- a characterizing word or phrase firmly associated with a person or thing and often used in place of an actual name, title, or the like, as “man's best friend” for “dog.”
- a word, phrase, or expression used invectively as a term of abuse or contempt, to express hostility, etc.
Origin of epithet
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for epithet
When they get on the road, they find their place of birth is now an epithet.Latinos Encounter a New ‘Grapes of Wrath’ Situation in California
July 21, 2014
It is very common for conservatives to use “latte-sipping” as an epithet.The Starbucks Shutdown Petition Is Baloney
October 11, 2013
Finally the epithet of "deathless" gets some explanation, stemming from Golovan's fearless ministrations during a plague.The Forgotten Russian: The Genius of Nikolai Leskov
April 10, 2013
Michael Clarke Duncan did not like the epithet “gentle giant.”‘Bones’ Creator Hart Hanson on Working with Michael Clarke Duncan
September 4, 2012
Who knows, because he waves away the entire discussion with the epithet “grotesque.”A Response to Jonathan Rosen
April 17, 2012
As we go swiftly on we realize the appropriateness of the epithet ever applied to the Rhne.
But such an epithet will not long apply to our favourite town.
Alderling repeated in a tone of amaze at the inadequacy of my epithet.Questionable Shapes
William Dean Howells
The epithet "hugged in," which Hetty had used, was the very phrase to best convey it.Hetty's Strange History
These persons she stigmatizes with the epithet of tideless-blooded.Tales And Novels, Volume 8 (of 10)
- a descriptive word or phrase added to or substituted for a person's name"Lackland" is an epithet for King John
Word Origin and History for epithet
1570s, "descriptive name for a person or thing," from Middle French épithète or directly from Latin epitheton, from Greek epitheton "something added," adjective often used as noun, from neuter of epithetos "attributed, added," from epitithenai "to add on," from epi "in addition" (see epi-) + tithenai "to put" (see factitious).