epithet

[ ep-uh-thet ]
/ ˈɛp əˌθɛt /

noun

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

1570–80; < Latin epitheton epithet, adjective < Greek epítheton epithet, something added, equivalent to epi- epi- + the- (variant stem of tithénai to put) + -ton neuter verbid suffix

OTHER WORDS FROM epithet

ep·i·thet·ic, ep·i·thet·i·cal, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH epithet

epigram epigraph epitaph epithet
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for epithetic

epithet
/ (ˈɛpɪˌθɛt) /

noun

a descriptive word or phrase added to or substituted for a person's name"Lackland" is an epithet for King John

Derived forms of epithet

epithetic or epithetical, adjective

Word Origin for epithet

C16: from Latin epitheton, from Greek, from epitithenai to add, from tithenai to put
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