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
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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