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a. A term used to characterize a person or thing, such as rosy-fingered in rosy-fingered dawn or the Great in Catherine the Great.
b. A term used as a descriptive substitute for the name or title of a person, such as The Great Emancipator for Abraham Lincoln.
2. A disparaging or abusive word or phrase.
3. Biology A word in the scientific name of an organism following the name of the genus and denoting a species, subspecies, variety, or cultivar, as sativa in Lactuca sativa.
[Latin epitheton, from Greek, neuter of epithetos, added, attributed, from epitithenai, epithe-, to add to : epi-, epi- + tithenai, to place; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.]
ep′i·thet′ic, ep′i·thet′i·cal adj.
a descriptive word or phrase added to or substituted for a person's name: "Lackland" is an epithet for King John.
[C16: from Latin epitheton, from Greek, from epitithenai to add, from tithenai to put]
ˌepiˈthetic, ˌepiˈthetical adj
1. a characterizing word or phrase added to or used in place of the name of a person or thing.
2. a word, phrase, or expression used invectively as a term of abuse or contempt.
[1570–80; < Latin epitheton epithet, adjective < Greek epítheton epithet, something added]
ep`i•thet′ic, ep`i•thet′i•cal, adj.
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|Noun||1.||epithet - a defamatory or abusive word or phrase|
calumniation, calumny, defamation, hatchet job, traducement, obloquy - a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone's words or actions
smear word - an epithet that can be used to smear someone's reputation; "he used the smear word `communist' for everyone who disagreed with him"
|2.||epithet - descriptive word or phrase|
characterisation, characterization, delineation, depiction, word picture, word-painting, picture - a graphic or vivid verbal description; "too often the narrative was interrupted by long word pictures"; "the author gives a depressing picture of life in Poland"; "the pamphlet contained brief characterizations of famous Vermonters"