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 He was recently cast in the fantasy epic Dungeons and Dragons, as well as in The Gray Man, Netflix’s big-budget action film starring Chris Evans, Ryan Gosling, and more. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Regé-Jean Page Won His First Major Award for Playing the Duke of Hastings," 29 Mar. 2021 Zack Snyder’s Justice League — a four-hour behemoth of a film that represents the director’s true vision for the superhero epic and vindication for his supporters — premiered on HBO Max two weeks ago. James Grebey, Vulture, "Is the Snyder Cut Eligible for Any Academy Awards?," 29 Mar. 2021 Back for its traditional airing before Easter, the 1956 Biblical epic stars Charlton Heston as Moses, who leads his fellow Jews out of slavery. oregonlive, "‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’; ‘Top Chef’ Portland; ‘City on a Hill’; ‘The Ten Commandments’; TV This Week," 28 Mar. 2021 But, in the meantime, Metsavainio’s 100,000-pixel-wide epic still offers plenty to gape at. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "See Astonishing Milky Way Mosaic Image That Took 12 Years to Create," 24 Mar. 2021 Going into the night, Scott’s stirring epic of ancient Rome had already won the top prize from the Producers Guild of America, which often bodes well for a best picture Oscar win. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, "‘Gladiator’ was about to win the Oscar 20 years ago. What those awards foretold," 21 Mar. 2021 The Spine of Night is an impressive achievement for its intriguing fantasy worldbuilding, shocking visuals, engaging pacing, and a story that feels both novel and epic in scope. Jeff Ewing, Forbes, "SXSW 2021: ‘The Spine Of Night’ Boasts Impressive Fantasy-Horror Worldbuilding And A Novel Story," 20 Mar. 2021 Casting two non-American actors in a Civil War epic could have gone very wrong, but Anthony Minghella’s decision to take a chance on Kidman and Jude Law as separated Southern lovers was the right call. Roxana Hadadi, Vulture, "Nicole Kidman’s 15 Career Golden Globe Nominations, Ranked," 25 Feb. 2021 Host Tyra Banks was at her costume-changing season's best, the judges were breathing critical fire in the epic final and the dancers kept pace. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'Dancing With the Stars' finale: 'Bachelorette' Kaitlyn Bristowe vies for Mirrorball Trophy, but who won?," 24 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Bonnaroo revealed its 2021 lineup Foo Fighters, Megan Thee Stallion, Tame Impala, Tyler, The Creator, Lana Del Rey and more have joined Lizzo as headliners for this year's epic Bonnaroo festival, now set to take place in September 2021. Gab Ginsberg, Billboard, "The 13 Best Things That Happened in Music This Week (April 2)," 2 Apr. 2021 From Faussett’s property, the trail can be as short as 8-10 miles to the glacial lake — turning an epic ride into a day trip. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "Knik Glacier’s biking boom is drawing hundreds into backcountry once tough to reach," 1 Apr. 2021 Their epic brawl premieres Wednesday in theaters and on HBO Max. Washington Post, "‘Godzilla vs. Kong’: Which of our big boys has the power to win?," 31 Mar. 2021 Teams have taken notice of Poeltl’s epic foul-line struggles. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "The triple take: Spurs 120, Kings 106," 31 Mar. 2021 While Long is going up against his fellow, older veterans in the debut season of All Stars, he's already got a plan in mind to take this new format in an epic direction with the younger, newer Challenge stars. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, "Mark Long wants The Challenge: All Stars to battle against newer The Challenge players," 29 Mar. 2021 Mobley is a primary reason why USC boasts the top two-point defense in the country this season, making for an epic matchup inside the arc. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, "Big man Evan Mobley likely will be huge factor for USC in its bid to upset Gonzaga," 29 Mar. 2021 Aretha lived an epic life, being both the first woman ever to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and an activist who went on tour with Martin Luther King, Jr. at age 16. Quinci Legardye, Marie Claire, "Aretha Franklin's Family Is Against 'Genius: Aretha'," 29 Mar. 2021 The area has beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and warm temperatures, which make for epic conditions when cold fronts roll through. Cassie Armstrong, orlandosentinel.com, "We’ve got a beach for that," 28 Mar. 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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Statistics for epic

Last Updated

4 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Epic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epic. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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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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