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

Despite Jenner's response on Instagram, fans seem pretty convinced that Stormi could have a baby brother or sister in the not-too-distant future: Just this week, Jenner celebrated daughter Stormi's first birthday with an epic, rainbow-themed party. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kylie Jenner Just Casually Teased a Second Pregnancy & Fans Are Freaking Out," 3 Feb. 2019 This epic, cruelty-free eye shadow palette from Hot Topic works year-round, with colors ranging from the silvery Ghouls to the bright blue Skinwalker. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "11 Halloween Beauty Launches for Spooky Makeup and Skin-Care Products," 9 Oct. 2018 And with Florence stalling, the Carolinas and the Southeast are going to see an epic, dangerous amount of it. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Hurricane Florence will slow down. That’s a bad thing.," 12 Sep. 2018 King played Carmela Corleone in the first two installments of Francis Ford Coppola’s mob epic, notably singing and later dancing with her on-screen husband, played by Marlon Brando, in the iconic wedding scene. Matt Richardson, Fox News, "'Godfather' actress Morgana King dead at 87, reports say," 17 Aug. 2018 Windstar has been rolling out a number of new routes over the past two years including an epic, 51-day sailing in the Mediterranean and an itinerary focuses on Malaysia and Thailand. Gene Sloan, USA TODAY, "New York to be home to a new cruise line this fall as Windstar Cruises arrives," 9 July 2018 Entertainment Thanks to a soaring, boyish tenor that seems tailor-made for romantic epics, Ricardo Montaner became one of the top balladeers on the Latin-pop scene in the late '80s and '90s. Randy Cordova, azcentral, "Ricardo Montaner on love songs, Venezuela and his famous kids," 13 Mar. 2018 With her very reflective sunglasses and super sleek, dark bob, Kim looks ready to star in her own Fifth Element-style sci-fi epic. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Here's Kim Kardashian Quasi Freeing the Nipple While Looking Like a Sci-Fi Character," 11 Aug. 2018 Desai also argued that homosexuality was not alien to Indian cultural traditions, making a reference to a transgender character in the Mahabharata, an Indian epic. NBC News, "Gay sex not an aberration, Indian judge says ahead of ruling on homosexuality ban," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But surprisingly, the biggest challenge of her big, epic, birthday present to herself wasn't the training but managing the assumption from others that this is somehow a weight-loss journey. Kathleen Rellihan, Glamour, "Who Says Plus-Size Women Can't Climb Kilimanjaro?," 8 Mar. 2019 Luckily for viewers around the world, this allowed for two epic fashion moments. Vogue, "Priyanka Chopra Shares New Family Portraits From Her Wedding to Nick Jonas," 7 Dec. 2018 After the show, Meghan was still not over Whoopi's epic Rudolph moment ... Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'The View' Star Meghan McCain Completely Lost It Over Whoopi Goldberg's Epic Rant on Thursday," 30 Nov. 2018 In decades past, glaciologists had assumed these ancient features advanced and retreated on epic time scales — not in human lifetimes. Eric Betz, Discover Magazine, "East Antarctica's Sleeping Giant Awakes," 17 Aug. 2018 Over at the Upshot, Nate Cohn and Dominic Kesterton estimate that Democrats need a blue wave of epic proportions in the popular vote to overcome a tremendous disadvantage in districting. Lee Drutman, Vox, "Americans overwhelmingly support checks and balances. That should be the focus of the midterms.," 19 July 2018 The epic scale of these celebrations suggests the prodigious feasting of antiquity’s Homeric heroes, though keg stands — or, in this case, Cup stands — seem more closely aligned with the Greek life of Animal House than of The Odyssey. Erik Brady, USA TODAY, "Are the Washington Capitals the drunkest champions ever?," 11 June 2018 As empires hang in the balance, two hardened commanders engage in tug of war on an epic scale. Brooks Barnes, New York Times, "As Disney Moves Forward With Fox, Comcast Continues Plotting," 20 May 2018 There are great characters, epic moments and an interesting story to tell. cleveland.com, "50 greatest wrestling matches of all time," 8 May 2018

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

11 Mar 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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