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

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 There was always something fated in Stone’s casting as Ginger, the moll to Robert DeNiro’s casino mogul in Martin Scorsese’s 1995 Las Vegas crime epic. Liam Hess, Vogue, "Sharon Stone on the Unforgettable Fashion of Casino, 25 Years Later," 25 Nov. 2020 There may not be a movie with a more devoted following than Martin Scorsese’s 1990 mob epic. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "40 new books for holiday gifts in 2020," 18 Nov. 2020 This transatlantic epic was Gyasi’s effort to work through her own sense of disconnectedness from African American identity. Jennifer Wilson, The New Republic, "Yaa Gyasi Versus the Identity Trap," 6 Nov. 2020 Told through the inconsolable emotions of a father having lost a son, this epic of sadness from every musical vantage point becomes like a never-ending folk song from the beyond. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, "Can music bring us unity? How Osvaldo Golijov’s ‘Ayre’ is what we need now," 4 Nov. 2020 Now, the epic about Indian life has been adapted for television. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, "Acclaimed UK Miniseries A Suitable Boy Is Coming to the U.S.," 30 Oct. 2020 The three-act epic notorious for its six-hour runtime was cut down to 65 minutes by Sharon, who wrote new, English lyrics to fit Wagner's score. Duante Beddingfield, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan Opera Theatre drives into the pandemic era with a fresh take on a classic," 30 Oct. 2020 With predictions of record voter turnout already, people are enduring long lines and epic wait times to exercise their civic duty — and right — as Americans. NBC News, "Trump, Biden campaigns push dueling views as U.S. Covid-19 cases break another record," 29 Oct. 2020 From the History of the American People series, a sprawling, 30-panel epic that tells the story of watershed moments in the nation’s formation with an emphasis on the contributions of women and people of color. Tara Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Long-Lost Jacob Lawrence Painting Spent 60 Years Hanging in NYC Apartment," 23 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Veblen’s epic life ended in despair—a final note urged that no biographical account or intellectual tribute ever be paid to him—and yet long after his passing, writers including John Dos Passos, Carson McCullers and... Zachary D. Carter, WSJ, "‘Veblen’ Review: Scourge of the Elites," 27 Nov. 2020 The Tigers won the Division III Bedford District championship last season behind Arnold’s 34 points against Elyria Catholic in the final and 30 in an epic 100-96 overtime win against Fairview in the semifinals. Matt Goul, cleveland, "Ohio State commit Malaki Branham, Mentor’s Luke Chicone lead top 50 players to watch: 2020-21 boys basketball preview," 27 Nov. 2020 After long weeks of perching on the edge of our seats waiting for news on Dermstore's upcoming deals, the retailer has finally revealed its most epic deals of the year. Alexis Rhiannon, Allure, "Dermstore's Massive Black Friday Sale Has Deals on More Than 200 Brands," 27 Nov. 2020 Rosario Dawson is unmistakable as the orange-skinned Togruta, using her extensive action experience to bring her to life in undeniably epic fashion. Will Thorne, chicagotribune.com, "Baby Yoda’s big reveal and 4 other updates from ‘The Mandalorian’," 27 Nov. 2020 Products in the epic sale are up for grabs through November 30 while supplies last—so make sure to pounce, because these products are known to fly off the digital shelves. Erin Parker, Glamour, "The Violet Grey Black Friday Sale Is Full of Luxury Skin Care for Less," 27 Nov. 2020 Shackleton’s subsequent attempt to lead his 27 men to safety across the frozen tundra became an epic struggle. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "What’s on TV Saturday and Sunday Talk ‘The Call of the Wild’," 27 Nov. 2020 Milton has been cleared to play and has been running the Knights’ scout team, but Heupel dodged questions about whether the epic comeback story would be completed on the same field where Milton was injured. Matt Murschel, orlandosentinel.com, "UCF pushes to wrap regular season with win over rival USF," 26 Nov. 2020 Line-Noue Memea Kruse lives on Oahu’s famed North Shore, where marveling at sea turtles, epic waves and sunsets that paint the sky orange and purple are a must for many tourists in Hawaii. Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, Anchorage Daily News, "Pandemic gave locals fleeting taste of a tourist-free Hawaii," 26 Nov. 2020

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

29 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Epic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epic. Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for epic

epic

noun
How to pronounce epic (audio)

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

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

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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