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



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

Other Words from epic


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

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


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
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun My mom said nothing happens in Christopher Nolan’s epic, yet brilliantly sparse WWII film. Sophie Hanson, Harper's BAZAAR, 5 May 2022 Dillon’s time-traveling epic of more than 80 pages involves an exploding Christmas tree star and Dillon himself being eaten by a turkey. Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 Apr. 2022 Directed by Shawn Levy, The Adam Project is a time-traveling epic about fighter pilot Adam Reed (Ryan Reynolds), who teleports to 2022 to work with his 12-year-old self (Scobell) to save the future. Rolling Stone, 22 Apr. 2022 This is a big screen epic about Vienna from 1890 to 1918, but Klimt is at the center of it. Sofia Krusmark, The Arizona Republic, 16 Mar. 2022 From gritty New England to the glitz of Vegas and beyond, Winslow's story sets the stage for an epic about power, family, fortune, and fear in the shadow of the American dream. The Editors, Town & Country, 8 Mar. 2022 This one is an old-school epic, about a slave who escapes a Brazilian plantation for a fugitive camp, looking to reunite with her husband — but as with any writer’s writer, the story is more of a framework to explore language. Christopher Borrelli, chicagotribune.com, 22 Sep. 2021 The film is a sweeping epic about a scholar exiled to an island who trades his knowledge in Confucianism with a fisherman in order to write a book about the sea. Patrick Frater, Variety, 17 Sep. 2021 Double bill pairs Steven Spielberg’s 1998 WWII epic about the D-Day invasion in France with Terrence Malick’s meditative 1998 drama about the war in the Pacific. Los Angeles Times, 10 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective And last but not least ... An epic thread about a marble bust of a Roman general that was lost, then miraculously found ... in Texas. Carolina A. Mirandacolumnist, Los Angeles Times, 7 May 2022 Of course, a Cobra Kai trailer wouldn't be complete without a few epic training and fight sequences. Abigail Adams, PEOPLE.com, 6 May 2022 Fun fact: The Kamloops Blazers eliminated the Chiefs in the first round this year, in epic fashion. Samantha Meese, oregonlive, 6 May 2022 The song is an epic return to the classic power ballads of the ’80s with a strong guitar solo, and the catchy earworm is on track to being an Oscar frontrunner in the original song race. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 6 May 2022 Ideal for the whole family, no one can forget the epic 4th of July scene in The Sandlot. Yaa Bofah, Good Housekeeping, 6 May 2022 HBO Max streams blockbuster movies, epic originals and series. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 5 May 2022 The final time in Mo Donegal winning in the 1 1/8 mile Wood Memorial was 1:47.96 - the fastest time in the race since Bellamy Road’s epic romp in 2005. Jay Ginsbach, Forbes, 5 May 2022 And the movie also has some of the very best action sequences—the fight in the Casino that leads into the epic car chase with T'Challa on top of the car is amazing stuff. Evan Romano, Men's Health, 5 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of epic


1583, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for epic


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

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Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Epic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epic. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for epic


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



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

More from Merriam-Webster on epic

Nglish: Translation of epic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of epic for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about epic


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