From Middle French épithète, from Latin, from Ancient Greek ἐπίθετον (epítheton, “epithet, adjective”), the neuter of ἐπίθετος (epíthetos, “attributed, added”), from ἐπιτίθημι (epitíthēmi, “to add on”), from ἐπι- (epi-, “in addition”) + τίθημι (títhēmi, “to put”) (from Proto-Indo-European *dhe- (“to put, to do”)).
|Examples (term to characterize)|
|Examples (descriptive substitute)|
|Examples (biology: part of scientific name of plants, fungi and bacteria)|
epithet (plural epithets)
- A term used to characterize a person or thing.
- A term used as a descriptive substitute for the name or title of a person.
- One of many formulaic words or phrases used in Iliad and the Odyssey to characterize a person, a group of people, or a thing.
- An abusive or contemptuous word or phrase.
2006, Eric L. Goldstein, The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity:
- Part of this process was the elaboration of new terms for the Jew, especially the increasingly popular epithet “kike”.
- (taxonomy) A word in the scientific name of a taxon following the name of the genus or species. This applies only to formal names of plants, fungi and bacteria. In formal names of animals the corresponding term is the specific name.
- (descriptive substitute): cognomen
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