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epithet Line breaks: epi|thet
Pronunciation: /ˈɛpɪθɛt/

Definition of epithet in English:


1An adjective or phrase expressing a quality or attribute regarded as characteristic of the person or thing mentioned: old men are often unfairly awarded the epithet ‘dirty
More example sentences
  • Judging by the epithet you've awarded him, I take it you weren't unduly impressed.
  • The normal way round is the creation of an identifying tag, normally by a pertinent epithet or nickname - hence I would become Fat James, or Green James, or Elf.
  • Among them was Bill Shankly accompanied, even here, by what have become his defining epithets: ‘the legend, the genius, the man‘.
description, descriptive word/expression/phrase, designation, denomination, characterization, identification
informal moniker, handle
formal appellation, cognomen, anonym
1.1An epithet used as a term of abuse: the woman begins to hurl racial epithets at them
More example sentences
  • When we characterise these tendencies as centrist and opportunist, this is not some kind of epithet or swear word.
  • In many people's minds free speech is a ‘right’ to hurl epithets at politically correct wusses, and to do so with no fear of having your fraternity suspended.
  • Either she'll be touched to be rediscovered or she'll be very, very indignant and hurl ethnocentric epithets.


Pronunciation: /ɛpɪˈθɛtɪk/
Example sentences
  • Before the emails come flooding in, I am aware that the main reason given for using the sobriquet ‘British’ is as an essentially epithetic marketing tool. ‘British’ is a brand name.
Pronunciation: /ɛpɪˈθɛtɪk(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • It has been done, on occasion, by every Speaker who has ever sat in this Chair, because comments can be ironic or epithetical.
  • She took his cue, and continued the conversation as if he hadn't said anything epithetical.


Late 16th century: from French épithète, or via Latin from Greek epitheton, neuter of epithetos 'attributed', from epitithenai 'add', from epi 'upon' + tithenai 'to place'.

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