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

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 epic (audio) \ adjective
epically \ ˈe-​pi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce epic (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 The one victim of the situation, at least temporarily, was Springsteen’s epic Super Bowl ad for Jeep, which was taken down from YouTube after the arrest went public. Los Angeles Times, "Bruce Springsteen fined $500 for drinking on federal property but DWI is dropped," 24 Feb. 2021 Peach Blossom Paradise is a family saga with the heft of an epic that follows the life of a young woman who meets a revolutionary as the Qing dynasty collapses. James Mcelroy, Washington Examiner, "A Chinese guide to our cultural revolution," 31 Dec. 2020 Based on the popular ’50s television series (and co-starring that show’s lead, James Garner), Maverick is a bit of a bloated contraption, too long and too overstuffed with would-be-epic-and-probably-unnecessary Western scope by Richard Donner. Tim Grierson, Vulture, "The 25 Best Movies About Gambling," 5 Feb. 2021 City of Bohane, my first novel, is an epic but a very compressed one. Seija Rankin, EW.com, "What's in a Page: Kevin Barry's writing routine will have you longing for Ireland," 15 Jan. 2021 From Swift's newest album comes a romantic epic that's guaranteed to make your heart flutter. The Editors, Town & Country, "The Best Modern Love Songs for Your Valentine's Day Playlist," 25 Jan. 2021 One of the most influential action films of all time is actually this 1995 sci-fi anime epic from Mamoru Oshii based on the manga of the same name. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 100 Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now," 16 Jan. 2021 The story is told in six-minute-long increments, and adds up to an epic, 200-episode adventure. Join The New York Times Podcast Club on Facebook for more suggestions and discussions about all things audio. New York Times, "Icy Podcasts to Warm Your Cold, Cold Heart," 2 Jan. 2021 The Irish indie-pop singer Róisín Murphy’s new epic, Róisín Machine, twitched with kick drum and electric piano. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "How Disco Defined 2020," 23 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective As if Burger Boy’s famous milkshakes weren’t already epic enough, the venerable San Antonio restaurant has outdone itself with a new flavor: Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies. San Antonio Express-News, "Express Briefing: Stranded travelers offered hope in San Antonio," 18 Feb. 2021 The quarterback matchup between Tampa Bay's Brady, the GOAT, and the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, the kid (?) and reigning Super Bowl MVP – and surely next face of the league – ought to be epic. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Super Bowl 55's matchup of Chiefs and Buccaneers now set, 32 things we learned from championship games," 25 Jan. 2021 As a coach, his playoff losses were epic and mystifying. Bernie Wilson, ajc, "Marty Schottenheimer, NFL coach with 200 wins, dies at 77," 9 Feb. 2021 Harlan called the game on the radio for Westwood One and had an epic call delivering a play-by-play of the incident. oregonlive, "Super Bowl 2021: Kevin Harlan delivers epic call of fan streaking on field," 8 Feb. 2021 According to a source, the Pistons — a league-worst 5-18 after Saturday night's epic double-overtime loss at the Los Angeles Lakers — want to give their young players more time on the court. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons reportedly trade Derrick Rose to New York Knicks for Dennis Smith Jr., pick," 7 Feb. 2021 During summers, the Klibaner family would pack up their car and head across the country for epic camping trips to national parks. NBC News, "'It was just so unexpected': Family finds there's no mathematical formula to grieving loss," 7 Feb. 2021 Thomas: This situation really speaks to an epic failure of liberalism. George Mccalman, San Francisco Chronicle, "Lava Thomas speaks out: A candid interview with the artist on saga of S.F.'s Maya Angelou monument," 7 Feb. 2021 Once families are separated and scattered, getting them back together is an epic challenge — and many such heart-rending cases remain. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "One mother’s quest captures the challenges as Biden seeks to reunite separated migrant families," 6 Feb. 2021

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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Learn More about epic

Statistics for epic

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Epic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epic. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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Comments on epic

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