epic

noun
ep·​ic | \ ˈe-pik How to pronounce epic (audio) \

Definition of epic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a long narrative poem in elevated style recounting the deeds of a legendary or historical hero the Iliad and the Odyssey are epics
2 : a work of art (such as a novel or drama) that resembles or suggests an epic
3 : a series of events or body of legend or tradition thought to form the proper subject of an epic the epic of the winning of the West

epic

adjective
ep·​ic | \ ˈe-pik How to pronounce epic (audio) \

Definition of epic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of an epic an epic poem
2a : extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope his genius was epicThe Times Literary Supplement (London)
b : heroic

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Other Words from epic

Adjective

epical \ ˈe-​pi-​kəl How to pronounce epical (audio) \ adjective
epically \ ˈe-​pi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce epically (audio) \ adverb

Does epic mean "impressive" or just "big"?

Noun

When epic began to be used as an adjective in English it was in specific reference to the characteristics of the type of poem that bears the same name. A couple of centuries passed, and the word’s meaning came to describe other kinds of works, aside from poetry, which had similarly grand characteristics. More recently, epic has been found used in a highly colloquial fashion, in a manner that is largely synonymous with outstanding, fabulous, or impressive. Before you pass judgment on whether this new sense of epic is acceptable to you or not, you might want to consider that all the words that this sense is synonymous with have also changed their meanings dramatically: outstanding originally described something that projected or stuck out, fabulous had to do with fables, and impressive used to mean “capable of being impressed.”

Examples of epic in a Sentence

Noun

Homer's ancient Greek epic “The Odyssey”.

Adjective

The football game was an epic battle between two great teams. The bridge was an epic achievement. The company is engaged in an epic struggle for survival. an accomplishment of epic proportions
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

From blockbuster epics to smaller indie experiences to inventive takes on VR, the breadth and variety of games that came out over the last 12 months is astounding. Laura Hudson, The Verge, "Why Return of the Obra Dinn is my game of the year," 21 Dec. 2018 Having prepared the ingredients for an epic, Mr. Gessen has fashioned another work of narrow confessional realism that trucks in mundane observations and rueful ironies—something that feels, unfortunately, very American indeed. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Young and Privileged and Perpetually at Sea," 5 July 2018 Naturally, a project of such magnitude made for an epic on-set experience. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "How Netflix’s ‘A Great Day in Hollywood’ Got its Fashion Flavor," 25 June 2018 Start by re-connecting to the epic and the elegant in your relationships. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Monthly Lovescopes October 2018," 3 Oct. 2018 Image Daniel Radcliffe is returning to Broadway, and to exploring the particular challenges of the Information Age, in a new play about an epic and thought-provoking battle between a writer and a fact-checker. Michael Paulson, New York Times, "Daniel Radcliffe to Co-Star With Cherry Jones and Bobby Cannavale on Broadway," 6 June 2018 Much, though not all, of the art refers to the epic. Christopher Knight, latimes.com, "In Iranian art show at LACMA, the past wrestles with the present," 4 June 2018 The locals are proudly patriotic Azeris, claiming not just Noah for themselves, but also the origins of Azerbaijan's national flag, its national epic, and its former strongman president Heydar Aliyev. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "People Have Been Arguing About Nakhchivan Since 'The Flood'," 21 May 2018 How many millions of moviegoers have been tempted to come over to the classical side by virtue of hearing the scores to those self-replicating popcorn epics? John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "John Williams explores galaxies far and near in enjoyable CSO program of his film music," 27 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The fund’s struggle for the attention (and dollars) of investors was epic. John C. Bogle, WSJ, "Bogle Sounds a Warning on Index Funds," 29 Nov. 2018 Sampras’s serve and volley against Federer’s return game would be epic. Tara Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, "Some head-to-head dream matchups we wish we could see," 12 July 2018 The huge pork shoulder chop for two served with buttermilk ranch and crispy nuggets of kielbasa should have been epic. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "At Cadence, bold new culinary talents cook with the seasons," 1 June 2018 The outrage was epic, and that was before social media. Darcel Rockett, chicagotribune.com, "'Well That Escalated Quickly': Franchesca Ramsey talks about Roseanne fallout," 30 May 2018 After three excruciating overtimes and the most epic game of his life, the 18-year-old kid bound for NBA superstardom was broken. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "The Greek Mythology of the NBA’s Superstar," 2 Apr. 2019 It's been more than 40 years since Star Wars hit theaters, but the merchandising empire forged from George Lucas's epic space fantasy is stronger than its ever been. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Star Wars Toys for Any Aspiring Jedi," 27 Mar. 2019 Everyone was super stoked to see the Sister Act star, but Meghan's reaction was especially epic. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'The View' Star Meghan McCain LOST It After Whoopi Goldberg Returned to Give a Health Update," 14 Mar. 2019 Although their performance was epic, Cooper was nervous to take the stage with his multi-time Grammy winner costar. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper Gave the Most Intimate Performance the Oscars Has Ever Seen," 25 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of epic

Noun

1583, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for epic

Adjective

Latin epicus, from Greek epikos, from epos word, speech, poem — more at voice

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Statistics for epic

Last Updated

6 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for epic

The first known use of epic was in 1583

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More Definitions for epic

epic

noun

English Language Learners Definition of epic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long poem that tells the story of a hero's adventures
: a long book, movie, etc., that usually tells a story about exciting events or adventures

epic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of epic (Entry 2 of 2)

: telling a story about a hero or about exciting events or adventures
: very great or large and usually difficult or impressive

epic

noun
ep·​ic | \ ˈe-pik How to pronounce epic (audio) \

Kids Definition of epic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long poem that tells the story of a hero's deeds

epic

adjective

Kids Definition of epic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : telling a great and heroic story an epic poem
2 : heroic or impressive because of great size or effort A large crowd … had gathered to witness the epic ascent.— Brian Jacques, Redwall

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More from Merriam-Webster on epic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for epic

Spanish Central: Translation of epic

Nglish: Translation of epic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of epic for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about epic

Comments on epic

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