noun ep·i·thet \ˈe-pə-ˌthet also -thət\

: a word or phrase that describes a person or thing

: an offensive word or name that is used as a way of abusing or insulting someone

Full Definition of EPITHET

a :  a characterizing word or phrase accompanying or occurring in place of the name of a person or thing
b :  a disparaging or abusive word or phrase
c :  the part of a taxonomic name identifying a subordinate unit within a genus
obsolete :  expression
ep·i·thet·ic \ˌe-pə-ˈthe-tik\ or ep·i·thet·i·cal \-ti-kəl\ adjective

Examples of EPITHET

  1. His charitable works have earned him the epithet Mr. Philanthropy.
  2. Many were offended by her use of racial epithets.
  3. a group of angry people hurling epithets at one another

Origin of EPITHET

Latin epitheton, from Greek, from neuter of epithetos added, from epitithenai to put on, add, from epi- + tithenai to put — more at do
First Known Use: 1579
Medical Dictionary


noun ep·i·thet \ˈep-ə-ˌthet also -thət\

Medical Definition of EPITHET

:  the part of a scientific name identifying the species, variety, or other subunit within a genus—see specific epithet


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