epithet

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ep·i·thet

(ep'i-thet),
Characterizing term or name.
[G. epithetos, added, fr. epi- + tithēmi, to place]

epithet

(ĕp′ə-thĕt′)
n.
1.
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.

ep′i·thet′ic, ep′i·thet′i·cal adj.
References in classic literature ?
But his clever tone did not trouble me; it was his epithet that caused me to prick my ears.
Besides the refrains which are perhaps a relic of communal composition and the conventional epithets which the ballads share with epic poetry there are numerous traditional ballad expressions--rather meaningless formulas and line-tags used only to complete the rime or meter, the common useful scrap-bag reserve of these unpretentious poets.
His letters, when they come, are kind, if fair words and endearing epithets can give them a claim to the title - but very short, and full of trivial excuses and promises that I cannot trust; and yet how anxiously I look forward to them I how eagerly I open and devour one of those little, hastily-scribbled returns for the three or four long letters, hitherto unanswered, he has had from me!
Here he perched, hurling twigs and epithets at the raging feline beneath him.
Hale's rejoinder, when I had read the item aloud; but the incident evidently weighed upon his mind, for late in the afternoon, with many epithets denunciatory of his foolishness, he asked me to acquaint the police with the affair.
The child still struggled and loaded me with epithets which carried despair to my heart; I grasped his throat to silence him, and in a moment he lay dead at my feet.
The latter epithets, and worse, have indeed already been applied, if not to Raffles and all his works, at least to mine upon Raffles, by more than one worthy wielder of a virtuous pen.
The shop-boys in the neighbourhood had long been in the habit of branding Noah in the public streets, with the ignominious epithets of 'leathers,' 'charity,' and the like; and Noah had bourne them without reply.
The poor greengrocer bowed very humbly while these little epithets were bestowed upon him, in the true spirit of the very smallest tyranny; and when everybody had said something to show his superiority, Mr.
In spite of the fact that nobody ever mentioned his article to him after it appeared--full of typographical errors which he thought intentional-- he got a certain satisfaction from believing that the citizens of Lincoln had meekly accepted the epithet `coarse barbarians.
Harris believed our boy had been loading him up with misinformation; and this was probably the case, for his epithet described that boy to a dot.
It had been many a day now since she had ventured a caress or a fondling epithet in his quarter.