Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of epithet
Meaning of epithet by Wiktionary Dictionary



    From Latin, from Ancient Greek ἐπίθετον ( epitheton, “adjective” ), the neuter of ἐπίθετος ( epithetos, “attributed, added” ), from ἐπιτιθέναι ( epitithenai, “to add on” ), from ἐπι- ( epi- ) + τιθέναι ( tithenai, “to put” ) ( from Proto-Indo-European *dhe- ( “to put, to do” ) ) .


    • IPA: /ˈɛp.ɪ.θɛt/, X-SAMPA: /"EpITEt/
    • Hyphenation: ep‧i‧thet


    solid #DDD">Examples ( term to characterize )solid #DDD">Examples ( descriptive substitute )
    • The Young Pretender for Charles Edward Stuart
    solid #DDD">Examples ( biology: part of scientific name of plants, fungi and bacteria )

    epithet ( plural: epithets )

    1. A term used to characterize a person or thing .
    2. A term used as a descriptive substitute for the name or title of a person .
    3. An abusive or contemptuous word or phrase.
    4. ( biology ) A word in the scientific name of a taxon following the name of the genus or species. This applies only to formal names of plants, fungi and bacteria. In formal names of animals the corresponding term is the specific name .

Explanation of epithet by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. a defamatory or abusive word or phrase

    2. descriptive word or phrase

    Definition of epithet by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Epithet n. [L. epitheton, Gr. , fr. added, fr. to add; ἐπί upon, to + to put, place: cf. F. épithète. See Do.]
      1. An adjective expressing some quality, attribute, or relation, that is properly or specially appropriate to a person or thing; as, “a just man; a verdant lawn”.

      A prince [Henry III.] to whom the epithet “worthless” seems best applicable. Hallam.

      2. Term; expression; phrase. “Stuffed with epithets of war.” Shak.

      Syn. -- Epithet, Title. The name epithet was formerly extended to nouns which give a title or describe character ( as the “epithet of liar” ), but is now confined wholly to adjectives. Some rhetoricians, as Whately, restrict it still further, considering the term epithet as belonging only to a limited class of adjectives, viz., those which add nothing to the sense of their noun, but simply hold forth some quality necessarily implied therein; as, “the bright sun, the lofty heavens, etc.” But this restriction does not prevail in general literature. Epithet is sometimes confounded with application, which is always a noun or its equivalent.

    2. Epithet, v. t. To describe by an epithet. [R.]

      Never was a town better epitheted. Sir H. Wotton.