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

Ever since movies began, Oregon has been a popular location for dramas, comedies, Westerns, science fiction epics and thrillers. oregonlive.com, "The Historic Oregon Film Trail celebrates scenery, history, movies like ‘The Goonies,’ ‘Stand By Me,’ and more," 25 July 2019 Despite delivering a controversial, polarizing final season, HBO’s lavish fantasy epic still seized the attention of Emmy voters Tuesday morning, leading all of television with 32 nominations. Chuck Barney, The Mercury News, "Emmy nominations: ‘Game of Thrones’ reigns again, but why?," 16 July 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 Yahoo's epic, historic data breach in 2013 compromised 3 billion people in total. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, "7 of the biggest hacks in history," 30 July 2019 By all accounts New York’s WorldPride celebration was epic, and the exuberant parade ran nearly as long as a Lars von Trier film. Christopher Muther, BostonGlobe.com, "The parade is over, but the party continues. Celebrating 50 years of Pride in New York," 23 July 2019 The battle scenes are epic, especially one on the Tower of London, but this is a Marvel movie where small touches also matter. Laura Demarco, cleveland.com, "’Spider-Man: Far From Home’: Peter Parker’s summer vacation goes awry in funny, touching post-’Endgame’ Avengers film (review)," 1 July 2019 Barack and Michelle joined George and Amal at their home in Lake Como, Italy this weekend—making for one of the most epic (and powerful) group dates of all time. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Obamas and Clooneys Have a Chic Double Date in Lake Como," 25 June 2019 The snow here in the Sierra Nevada is epic, packed into a base that is more than double the historic average for early summer. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Wet California winter is a boon for skiers and water supply. But it brings a threat: wildfires.," 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.

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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

12 Aug 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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