Word of the Day : December 17, 2018

epitome

play
noun ih-PIT-uh-mee

Definition

1 : a typical or ideal example : embodiment

2 a : a summary of a written work

b : a brief presentation or statement of something

3 : brief or miniature form — usually used with in

Did You Know?

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 any person or object that is a clear or good example of an abstraction.


Examples

The cabin we rented was the epitome of country charm: wide pine floors, simple sturdy furniture, and clean linen curtains billowing in the breeze of the open windows.

"I really want to make movies about tangible, complicated love, and I think the epitome of love is family love." — Jeremiah Zagar, quoted in The New York Magazine, 23 Aug. 2018



Word Family Quiz

Fill in the blanks to complete an adjective related to Greek temnein ("to cut") that means "dividing into two parts": _ i _ h _ t _ m _ _ s.

VIEW THE ANSWER

Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!