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.: He demeans his female employees by addressing them with sexist epithets.
Botany, Zoology. specific epithet.
- ep·i·thet·ic, ep·i·thet·i·cal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use epithet in a sentence
Call him what you want—and many use unprintable epithets—he looks like the Pied Piper as reporters and other Senators follow in his wake as he goes to cast another vote that will enrage someone.Here’s Why Schumer’s Mostly OK With Manchin Blocking His Agenda | Margaret Carlson | June 11, 2021 | The Daily Beast
Centuries of rudimentary medicine and social stigma were recalled in that one harsh epithet alone.
Like any woman, I’d come to expect explicit photos, unwanted advances, and, when I dared decline, epithets.
Viewers of color can feel safe watching the story without waiting for that moment when our breath is punched from our lungs because of an epithet, an othering action or plot point constructed on historical pain, pain that still runs deep.How ‘Bridgerton’ flipped the script on ‘The Duke and I’ | Vanessa Riley | January 12, 2021 | Washington Post
In hopes of raising interest in these overlooked wonders, he chose the epithet quarantenae for a new species of microscopic Laboulbenia fungus described July 30 in MycoKeys.How two new fungus species got named after the COVID-19 pandemic | Susan Milius | August 17, 2020 | Science News
It was Tarshis who gave the comedian the memorable epithet “Jell-O Man.”
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 | Nicolaus Mills | July 21, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
For one, Lewis has never said Tea Party members have hurled the racial epithet at him.
It is very common for conservatives to use “latte-sipping” as an epithet.
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 | Benjamin Lytal | April 10, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Many of the first connoisseurs, now hesitate whether to apply the epithet greatest to Guarnerius or to Stradiuarius.Violins and Violin Makers | Joseph Pearce
When she was unaware of the name she was accustomed to address all males by the epithet "man."The Pit Town Coronet, Volume II (of 3) | Charles James Wills
Now it strikes me that there is quite as much tautology in "unsane lunes" as in the double epithet, "dangerous, unsafe."
His character, however, by no means justified the epithet of holy and pious emperor bestowed by Dionysius of Alexandria.The Catacombs of Rome | William Henry Withrow
Indeed, they used the epithet son of a goat in the same way as the modern vulgar do an appellation which is much more literal.A Philosophical Dictionary, Volume 1 (of 10) | Franois-Marie Arouet (AKA Voltaire)
British Dictionary definitions for epithet
a descriptive word or phrase added to or substituted for a person's name: "Lackland" is an epithet for King John
- epithetic or epithetical, adjective
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