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 formsep·i·tom·i·cal [ep-i-tom-i-kuhl] /ˌɛp ɪˈtɒm ɪ kəl/, ep·i·tom·ic, adjective

Synonyms for epitome

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for epitome

Contemporary Examples of epitome

Historical Examples of epitome

  • "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; personificationhe is the epitome of sloth
a summary of a written work; abstract
Derived Formsepitomical (ˌɛpɪˈtɒmɪkəl) or epitomic, adjective

Word Origin for epitome

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

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