epitome

noun
epit·​o·​me | \ i-ˈpi-tə-mē How to pronounce epitome (audio) \

Definition of epitome

1 : a typical or ideal example : embodiment the British monarchy itself is the epitome of tradition— Richard Joseph
2a : a summary of a written work
b : a brief presentation or statement of something
3 : brief or miniature form usually used with in

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Other Words from epitome

epitomic \ ˌe-​pə-​ˈtä-​mik How to pronounce epitomic (audio) \ or epitomical \ ˌe-​pə-​ˈtä-​mi-​kəl How to pronounce epitomical (audio) \ adjective

Epitome Has Greek Roots

Epitome first appeared in print in 1520, when it was used to mean "summary." If someone asks you to summarize a long paper, you effectively cut it up, mentioning only the most important ideas in your synopsis, and the etymology of epitome reflects this process. The word descends from Greek epitemnein, meaning "to cut short," which in turn was formed from the prefix epi- and the verb temnein, which means "to cut." Your summary probably also presents all the key points of the original work, which may explain why epitome eventually came to be used for anything (such as a person or object) that is a clear or good example of an abstraction.

Examples of epitome in a Sentence

Terns, nicknamed sea swallows by fishermen, are superb flying machines, the epitome of beauty on the wing. — E. Vernon Laux, New York Times, 21 Aug. 2001 Manchester, then known as 'Cottonopolis' and perceived throughout the world as the epitome of the whirling fierceness of the industrial revolution.  … — Roy Jenkins, Gladstone, (1995) 1997 Hamilton thought the bank was a fait accompli, but he had not reckoned on Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Jefferson, the lover of rural virtues, had a deep, almost visceral hatred of banks, the epitome of all that was urban. — John Steele Gordon, American Heritage, July/August 1990 I didn't tell him that, at the time, I thought the place to be the epitome of bourgeois comfort; in those days I thought that there was some connection between creative talent and penury. — Ishmael Reed, "August Wilson," 1987, in Writin' Is Fightin'1988 the golden rule is often cited as the epitome of moral conduct: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” the prestigious prep school prides itself on being widely regarded as the epitome of tradition and old-fashioned values
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Recent Examples on the Web

Over the past few years, tiny homes, the epitome of simple, easy living in minimal square footage, have taken over our Instagram feeds and made us envy those who could live such full lives in these extremely small spaces. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Love Tiny Homes? Now You Can Build Your Own," 1 Mar. 2019 The Duchess of Cambridge is, in many ways, the epitome of the royal ideal. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton Was Reportedly Very Hurt by Queen Elizabeth's Early Criticisms of Her Lifestyle," 9 Feb. 2019 The new images, which were unveiled earlier this week (photographer Mark Harrison debuted the first image from the photo shoot on his personal Instagram), are pretty much the epitome of Christmas coziness. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Pippa Middleton Poses for a Cozy, Christmas-Themed Post-Baby Photo Shoot," 22 Dec. 2018 From the pool to the bar and home theater, this manse is the epitome of a Las Vegas party pad, without the hassle of the crowds and prying eyes of the Strip. Becky Bracken, Real Estate News and Advice | Realtor.com®, "'Pawn Stars' Star Chumlee Cuts Price on His Las Vegas Party Pad," 2 Oct. 2018 D'Brilliant is the epitome of a young, hard-working singer, managing to work full-time in the U.S. while dedicating the rest of his time to music. Billboard Venezuela, Billboard, "Meet New Latin American Music Sensation D'Brilliant," 6 July 2018 The epitome of the baseball lifer, Schoendienst became a revered figure in St. Louis. Richard Goldstein, New York Times, "Red Schoendienst, Cardinals Star and Oldest Hall of Famer, Dies at 95," 6 June 2018 This is the epitome of a broken economic and political system. WSJ, "Who Read What in 2018: Politics and Policy," 10 Dec. 2018 Sharon Tate's wedding dress was the epitome of '60s fashion. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Sharon Tate's Iconic Babydoll Wedding Dress Is Going Up for Auction," 1 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epitome.' 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 epitome

1520, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for epitome

Latin, from Greek epitomē, from epitemnein to cut short, from epi- + temnein to cut — more at tome

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Last Updated

11 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for epitome

The first known use of epitome was in 1520

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More Definitions for epitome

epitome

noun

English Language Learners Definition of epitome

: a perfect example : an example that represents or expresses something very well

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More from Merriam-Webster on epitome

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for epitome

Spanish Central: Translation of epitome

Nglish: Translation of epitome for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of epitome for Arabic Speakers

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