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
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 DiCaprio was also nominated, in the Lead Actor category, for his performance as fading star Rick Dalton in the Quentin Tarantino epic. Tyler Aquilina, EW.com, "Brad Pitt reveals Leonardo DiCaprio's affectionate nickname for him," 20 Jan. 2020 For those who loved James Cameron’s fantasy epic, the wait for a sequel has been arduous. Angela Watercutter, Wired, "Christian Bale Might Be Joining Thor: Love and Thunder," 9 Jan. 2020 In this Grail epic, the Knights Templar were included in the story as the guardians of the Grail. Patrick Masters, Quartz, "The true history of the conspiracy theories about the Knights Templar," 30 Dec. 2019 Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci star in this gangster epic from Netflix that has fans salivating, despite its epic 3.5-hour runtime. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, "New on Netflix: December 2019," 1 Dec. 2019 In the unfolding epic of Haitian survival, Tijuana is a rare success story. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, "As Protests Again Sweep Haiti, How Can the Nation Move Forward?," 24 Oct. 2019 Novels abolished the power that unpredictable events had held in epics, fables, and other, older forms of storytelling. Abhrajyoti Chakraborty, The New Republic, "The Disaster Novelist," 8 Oct. 2019 The chair passed to the only woman in this epic’s cast of characters: Lisa Schiff, who turned a partnership with Marsalis into a relentless dollar-scooping machine. Justin Davidson, Daily Intelligencer, "The Megamall–Hotel–Condo–Concert Hall That Ate New York City," 10 Jan. 2018 Martin Scorsese’s crime epic scored 10 nominations. Dallas News, "Oscar nominees are announced, with ‘Joker’ in the lead," 13 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Among the Best Picture nominees is the World War I epic 1917, which was also a hit with ticket-buyers. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "Why Hit Movies Are Called Blockbusters," 7 Feb. 2020 Pretty epic showdown between the Clippers and Lakers for Marcus Morris. Tim Bielik, cleveland, "NBA trade deadline 2020: Live news, updates and rumors from around the league," 6 Feb. 2020 But unlike Milton’s work, this is neither epic nor particularly poetic. Jose Solís, New York Times, "Review: A ‘Paradise Lost’ More Dutiful Than Divine," 6 Feb. 2020 With the nonchalance of an actor who spent the ’80s making rent by playing a semimystical antiques dealer in a British teatime drama, McShane declared that everyone needed to calm down about George R. R. Martin’s epic saga. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "Why The Witcher Is Better Than Game of Thrones," 1 Jan. 2020 Each year, Hollywood mines our past to tell us stories about our present through biopics, epic sagas and much more. Jason Herbert, Smithsonian Magazine, "What Were the Best History Movies of the Decade?," 31 Dec. 2019 Adventure Time was happy with all kinds of stories, from zoom-ins on the lives of background characters to epic adventures to save the multiverse. Christian Holub, EW.com, "The best animated shows (and episodes) of the decade," 19 Dec. 2019 This year's newest slew of shows encompasses everything from dark comedies and epic adventures in space to a woman simply trying to escape the worst birthday party of her life. Sharareh Drury, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hollywood Reporter Reader Poll: What Is Your Favorite New Show of 2019?," 2 Dec. 2019 Three emojis embark on an epic adventure through a smartphone to save their world from deletion. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV for Oct. 6-12: ‘Throne of Blood’ and more," 4 Oct. 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

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Epic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epic. Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for epic

epic

noun
How to pronounce epic (audio)

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
How to pronounce epic (audio)

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

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

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