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[ih-pit-uh-mee] /ɪˈpɪt ə mi/
a person or thing that is typical of or possesses to a high degree the features of a whole class:
He is the epitome of goodness.
a condensed account, especially of a literary work; abstract.
Origin of epitome
1520-30; < Latin epitomē abridgment < Greek epitomḗ abridgment, surface incision. See epi-, -tome
Related forms
[ep-i-tom-i-kuh l] /ˌɛp ɪˈtɒm ɪ kəl/ (Show IPA),
epitomic, adjective
1. embodiment, exemplification, model, typification, quintessence. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for epitome
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "He does not love me and I do not deserve that he should," was her epitome of the situation.

    A War-Time Wooing

    Charles King
  • Mrs. Delamere is doubtless an epitome of all the virtues, but I never heard of her.

    The Tragic Muse

    Henry James
  • His judgment was an epitome of the scientific insight of the ages which culminated then.

    The Story of the Mind James Mark Baldwin
  • Talking, rightly considered, is the expression and epitome of life itself.

    Days Off

    Henry Van Dyke
  • So, is the USA the epitome of the civilization of illiteracy?

British Dictionary definitions for epitome


a typical example of a characteristic or class; embodiment; personification: he is the epitome of sloth
a summary of a written work; abstract
Derived Forms
epitomical (ˌɛpɪˈtɒmɪkəl), epitomic, adjective
Word Origin
C16: via Latin from Greek epitomē, from epitemnein to abridge, from epi- + temnein to cut
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for epitome

1520s, "an abstract; brief statement of the chief points of some writing," from Middle French épitomé (16c.), from Latin epitome "abridgment," from Greek epitome "abridgment," from epitemnein "cut short, abridge," from epi "into" (see epi-) + temnein "to cut" (see tome). Sense of "person or thing that typifies something" is first recorded c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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