Epithet Ep"i*thet, n. [L. epitheton, Gr. ?, fr. ? added, fr. ? to add; 'epi` upon, to + ? to put, place: cf. F. ['e]pith[`e]te. 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. [1913 Webster]

A prince [Henry III.] to whom the epithet ``worthless'' seems best applicable. --Hallam. [1913 Webster]

2. Term; expression; phrase. ``Stuffed with epithets of war.'' --Shak.

Syn: {Epithet}, {Title}.

Usage: 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. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • epithet — An epithet is an adjective indicating some quality or attribute (good or bad) which the speaker or writer (or the verdict of history) regards as characteristic of a person or thing, eg Charles the Bold, Ethelred the Unready, Philip the Good,… …   Modern English usage

  • Epithet — Ep i*thet, v. t. To describe by an epithet. [R.] [1913 Webster] Never was a town better epitheted. Sir H. Wotton …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • epithet — index blasphemy, call (title), term (expression) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • epithet — 1570s, descriptive name for a person or thing, from M.Fr. épithète or directly from L. epitheton, from Gk. epitheton something added, adjective often used as noun, from neut. of epithetos attributed, added, from epitithenai to add on, from epi in …   Etymology dictionary

  • epithet — [n] nickname appellation, description, designation, name, sobriquet, tag, title; concept 683 …   New thesaurus

  • epithet — ► NOUN ▪ a word or phrase expressing a quality or attribute of the person or thing mentioned. ORIGIN Greek epitheton, from epitithenai add …   English terms dictionary

  • epithet — [ep′ə thet΄, ep′əthət] n. [L epitheton < Gr, lit., that which is added < epitithenai, to put on, add < epi , on + tithenai, to put, DO1] 1. an adjective, noun, or phrase, often specif. a disparaging one, used to characterize some person… …   English World dictionary

  • Epithet — An epithet (from Greek ἐπίθετον epitheton , neut. of ἐπίθετος epithetos , attributed, added [ [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%2339438 Epithetos, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek… …   Wikipedia

  • epithet — epithetic, epithetical, adj. /ep euh thet /, n. 1. 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. 2. a characterizing word or phrase firmly… …   Universalium

  • epithet —  strictly speaking, describes a word or phrase that is used in place of a name. Calling Tarzan King of the Jungle is to employ an epithet. More commonly nowadays, however, epithet is used to describe an abusive or contemptuous utterance. A few… …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

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