Definition of epithet
1a : a characterizing word or phrase accompanying or occurring in place of the name of a person or thingb : a disparaging or abusive word or phrasec : the part of a taxonomic name identifying a subordinate unit within a genus
2 obsolete : expression
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Examples of epithet in a Sentence
His charitable works have earned him the epithet “Mr. Philanthropy.”
Many were offended by her use of racial epithets.
a group of angry people hurling epithets at one another
Recent Examples of epithet from the Web
The insults and epithets reduce people to the thing the president best understands: media brands.
And then there’s the Williams sisters’ 13-year boycott of the Indian Wells tournament after crowds in 2001 booed, hurled racial epithets and accused them of fixing matches.
As the Matsudas left the Vashon Island docks on May 16, 1942, a group of white people shouted obscenities and racial epithets at them.
In the text exchange, the epithet is used to describe a photo of Blue Moon employees in the kitchen.
That's the epithet social media users have adopted to describe Bonobos in the wake of its recent sale to Walmart for $310 million, and why not?
The suspects were subjected to mock executions and electric shock and beaten with telephone books as their interrogators flung racial epithets at them.
An Iowa woman who is facing charges after allegedly voting twice for Donald Trump in November’s election has found herself back in jail after pleading guilty to yelling epithets at a neighbor.
Has American politics ever truly deserved the epithet until now?
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epithet'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Nowadays, "epithet" is usually used negatively, with the meaning "a derogatory word or phrase," but it wasn't always that way. "Epithet" comes to us via Latin from the Greek noun epitheton and ultimately derives from epitithenai, meaning "to put on" or "to add." In its oldest sense, an "epithet" is simply a descriptive word or phrase, especially one joined by fixed association to the name of someone or something (as in "Peter the Great" or the stock Homeric phrases "gray-eyed Athena" and "wine-dark sea"). Alternatively, epithets may be used in place of a name (as in "the Peacemaker" or "the Eternal"). These neutral meanings of "epithet" are still in use, but today the word is more often used in its negative "term of disparagement" sense.
EPITHET Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of epithet for English Language Learners
: a word or phrase that describes a person or thing
: an offensive word or name that is used as a way of abusing or insulting someone
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