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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Lee’s last public appearance was at the Avengers: Infinity War premiere in April 2018, which was part one of the two-part epic that concluded the storyline Marvel started in 2008 with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man. Ale Russian, PEOPLE.com, "Tom Holland Recalls Stan Lee Gave Him ‘the Entire History’ of Spider-Man Before He Died," 27 June 2019 Thiem -- who stretched Nadal to a five-set epic last year at the US Open -- said Saturday adrenaline would aid in his efforts to put up a fight against the spin master. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Ruthless Nadal beats Thiem to win record-extending 12th French Open," 9 June 2019 Prepare for hair envy: Twitter took notice of Keery's epic do, with fans of both Harrington and the hair freaking out. Lynsey Eidell, Allure, "Twitter Reacts to Stranger Things' Joe Keery's Sky-High Hair at the 2018 Emmys Red Carpet," 17 Sep. 2018 Like many of the regular travelers to the mountains, their work allowed us to enjoy what really was an epic — if not ikon — season of skiing. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Good people with guns; Colorado can lead way again in abortion fight (6/16/19)," 16 June 2019 His religious epics were traditional and blessed by the Vatican. Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter, "Franco Zeffirelli, Oscar-Nominated Director for 'Romeo and Juliet,' Dies at 96," 15 June 2019 There are recommendations here for those, too, including a sprawling science fiction epic and an unusual history of baseball, that great summer pastime. Jim Kiest, ExpressNews.com, "12 new books for your summer reading list," 5 June 2019 Martin Scorsese’s irrepressibly Boston epic comes to Netflix. Andrew R. Chow, New York Times, "What’s on TV Friday: ‘Dateline’ With Andrea Constand and ‘800 Words’," 1 June 2018 The incident made for a pretty humorous scene in 1983's space epic The Right Stuff. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Early NASA diapers forced astronauts to disclose the size of their manhood," 13 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

As part of his epic Miami Heat farewell tour, Wade spent the season exchanging jerseys with NBA icons and friends. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "Winderman: Dwyane Wade’s jersey collection busted, but not NBA | Commentary," 13 July 2019 Federer-Nadal is one of the most epic rivalries of all time. Howard Fendrich, Houston Chronicle, "Novak Djokovic gets by Roberto Bautista Agut to reach sixth Wimbledon final," 12 July 2019 The 2nd Congressional District, which includes part of Tucson and Pima County as well as Cochise County, is almost evenly divided between registered Democrats and registered Republicans and has produced several epic races in recent years. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Former UA lobbyist Shay Stautz seeks to challenge Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick," 11 July 2019 The show, which opens next week, is a fictionalized account of the moment in 1956 when a 21-year-old Elvis Presley teamed with Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis for an epic Sun Records jam session. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Lamb’s Players Theatre puts its money on Vista production of ‘Million Dollar Quartet’," 10 July 2019 With President Donald Trump at the top of the ticket, Republicans and Democrats are preparing for an epic 2020 fight that will determine the balance of power in Texas -- and perhaps the country. Jamie Hancock, Dallas News, "Get ready for an epic Texas 2020 fight, plus three questions that could shape the presidential race," 9 July 2019 Depression had stolen the most epic moment of Brigetta's young life. Jessica Ciosek, refinery29.com, "How This Track Olympian Overcame Mental Illness," 20 June 2019 And there’s one ’90s pick from the annals of K-pop that’s just epic and wild and maybe the most classical in the entire set. Raisa Bruner, Time, "How a Live Orchestra Is Showing Off Another Side of K-Pop Greats Like BTS and BLACKPINK," 19 June 2019 More: Tiger Woods' Masters win as epic as Jack Nicklaus' in 1986, maybe better Woods also won the most recent PGA Tour event in Michigan, the 2009 Buick Open in Grand Blanc. Greg Levinsky, Detroit Free Press, "Sounds like Tiger Woods won't play in Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit," 17 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about epic

Statistics for epic

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for epic

The first known use of epic was in 1583

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up epic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!