Guide to Literary Terms

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What is an epithet?

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An epithet can be described in three ways,

1. "An adjective which expresses a quality or attribute considered characteristic of a person or thing."

2. "It is also an appellation or descriptive term which is common in historical titles such as “Catherine the Great.”

3. The final meaning is to use a "word, phrase, or expression invectively as a term of abuse or contempt, to express hostility, etc."

You will need to look at the context the in order to determine which definition applies to the word or phrase you are studying.

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