Definition of epithet noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈepɪθet//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈepɪθet//
    Linguistic devices
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  1. 1an adjective or phrase that is used to describe somebody/something’s character or most important quality, especially in order to give praise or criticism The film is long and dramatic but does not quite earn the epithet ‘epic’. See related entries: Linguistic devices
  2. 2(especially North American English) an offensive word or phrase that is used about a person or group of people Racial epithets were scrawled on the walls. See related entries: Linguistic devices
  3. Word Originlate 16th cent.: from French épithète, or via Latin from Greek epitheton, neuter of epithetos ‘attributed’, from epitithenai ‘add’, from epi ‘upon’ + tithenai ‘to place’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: epithet