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

The epics, particularly the Mahabharata, are tales of heroes (and some heroines) constantly plagued by self-doubt. K.n.c., The Economist, "India cannot flourish without individual freedom," 16 Aug. 2019 The collection itself is small, but epic: one hoodie and one tee. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Where to Shop Billie Eilish x Siberia Hills Anime Merch Collection Now," 8 Aug. 2019 Jasmin Haddad directs the 1607 epic, with an all-female cast whose leads are all women of color. San Diego Union-Tribune, "New Match Collective revisits Shakespeare with ‘Antony and Cleopatra’," 17 July 2019 Eleven years have passed since Federer and Nadal’s rain-delayed, five-set, no-fifth-set-tiebreaker epic, which Nadal wound up winning as darkness descended, 6–4, 6–4, 6–7(5), 6–7(8), 9–7. Jason Gay, WSJ, "A Tennis Geezer Pleaser: Federer, Nadal to Renew Battle at Wimbledon," 11 July 2019 The historical epic was initially banned in Arab territories, encountering opposition from authorities and forcing the crew to move to Morocco and re-create model cities of Mecca and Medina for the shoot. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Controversial Prophet Muhammad Film 'The Message' to Become First Arab Title to Get Saudi Release," 11 June 2018 Performers of the epic, who typically chant and dance, are now few and far between. Regine Cabato, Washington Post, "Trying to save the stories of a Philippine culture, one scan at a time," 7 July 2019 Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas are married again, and their wedding in the south of France looked to be all kinds of epic. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Priyanka Chopra Wore the Prettiest Pink Dress to Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas's Wedding," 30 June 2019 Agrasen’s step well—was built (or perhaps rebuilt) in the 14th century AD by followers of a mythical king whose life is chronicled in the earliest Sanskrit epics. The Economist, "The South Asian monsoon, past, present and future," 27 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The following millennia saw climate change on an epic scale. David Maurice Smith, Smithsonian, "A 42,000-Year-Old Man Finally Goes Home," 23 Aug. 2019 Rod Stewart, 74, recently reunited with all four mothers to his children for an epic blended family snapshot in honor of daughter Kimberly's 40th birthday. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "Rod Stewart reunites with four exes for an epic blended family photo," 23 Aug. 2019 During batting practice at Fenway Park on Friday afternoon, Ohtani put on an epic show, crushing balls to all fields. Alex Speier, BostonGlobe.com, "The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani comes close to hitting Red Seat at Fenway in batting practice," 9 Aug. 2019 The 45-page conclusion to the epic HBO show, written by showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, contains some of Season 8's biggest (and most bewildering) moments, from Daenerys Targaryen's death to Bran the Broken's pseudo-coronation. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Game of Thrones Finale Script Reveals Why Drogon Burned the Iron Throne Down," 1 Aug. 2019 After more than eight years watching this epic show, fans have formed strong bonds with their favorites like Daenerys Targaryen. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke Says She Had a Hard Time With All the Negative Comments About Dany," 20 May 2019 Deadline day was truly quite epic, with clubs announcing additions to their squad as late as four hours after the deadline had passed. SI.com, "Deadline Day: Why Tottenham's Business Makes Them Premier League Title Contenders," 9 Aug. 2019 Charles and David Koch’s political activities, and their company’s inclination to be private, have concealed an epic corporate success story. Christopher Leonard, ProPublica, "Rising Profits, Rising Injuries: The Safety Crisis at Koch Industries’ Georgia-Pacific," 8 Aug. 2019 Charles and David Koch’s political activities, and their company’s inclination to be private, have concealed an epic corporate success story. Fortune, "Rising Profits, Rising Injuries: Koch Industries Faces a Safety Crisis at Georgia-Pacific," 8 Aug. 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

9 Sep 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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