[ ep-uh-thet ]
/ ˈɛp əˌθɛt /
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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.
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Mississippi’s nickname comes from the magnificent trees that grow there. What is it?
Origin of epithet
First recorded in 1570–80; from Latin epitheton “adjective; word used attributively,” from Greek epítheton “something added, adjective, epithet,” derivative of epitithénai “to place upon, put upon,” equivalent to epi- + the- (variant stem of tithénai “to put, place”) + -ton neuter participle suffix; see epi-
OTHER WORDS FROM epithetep·i·thet·ic, ep·i·thet·i·cal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
British Dictionary definitions for epithet
/ (ˈɛpɪˌθɛt) /
a descriptive word or phrase added to or substituted for a person's name"Lackland" is an epithet for King John
Derived forms of epithetepithetic 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