Definition of epithet in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈepəˌTHet/


1An adjective or descriptive phrase expressing a quality 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‘.
sobriquet, nickname, byname, title, name, label, tag;
description, designation
informal moniker, handle
formal appellation, denomination
1.1An epithet 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: /epəˈTHetik/
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: /epəˈTHetikəl/
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.


Pronunciation: /epəˈTHetik(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • ‘God only knows the nature of god - the rest of us are just guessing,’ the song epithetically concludes.


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'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ep·i·thet

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