Advertisement - Continue reading below

Definition of "epithet" []

  • A term used to characterize a person or thing, such as rosy-fingered in rosy-fingered dawn or the Great in Catherine the Great. (noun)
  • A term used as a descriptive substitute for the name or title of a person, such as The Great Emancipator for Abraham Lincoln. (noun)
  • An abusive or contemptuous word or phrase. (noun)
  • Biology A word in the scientific name of an animal or plant following the name of the genus and denoting a species, variety, or other division of the genus, as sativa in Lactuca sativa. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "epithet" in a sentence
  • "As a general thing, we understand that the person to whom the epithet is applied is a lazy, lumpy bumpkin."
  • "In fact, normally the opposite sort of epithet is applied: "dork" or "nerd" have frequently been flung at me (and accepted with pride)."
  • "For one I clearly said I favor high IQ immigration, which can, of course, include Latinos, so your 'xenophobe' epithet is empty trashtalk."