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
Maher's epithet was not delivered in the context of a commentary on President Trump, but the HBO host is known as one of Trump's fiercest and longest-running critics.
The HBO late-night host Bill Maher apologized on Saturday for using a racial epithet during an interview with Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, on a live broadcast of his show on Friday night.
Both vehicles stopped, and the victim said the suspects approached and used racial epithets.
Although this is a poignant epithet, particularly because the men fought for years and only reconciled in old age, Jefferson had, in fact, predeceased him by five full hours.
A racial epithet was spray-painted on the front gate of NBA star LeBron James’ home in Brentwood, Los Angeles police said Wednesday.
The two girls, including one wearing a hijab, were on a MAX train Friday afternoon when the suspect, Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, hurled anti-Muslim epithets at them.
At one point, Christian blurts a racial epithet, according to the video from reporter Doug Brown of The Portland Mercury weekly newspaper show.
A few months ago, after meeting with a case manager to fill out housing applications, Shaquille heard someone yell a racial epithet at him on a street corner.
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.
Origin and Etymology of epithet
Latin epitheton, from Greek, from neuter of epithetos added, from epitithenai to put on, add, from epi- + tithenai to put — more at do
First Known Use: 1579
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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