Guide to Literary Terms

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What is the definition of epithet?

The definition of epithet is a descriptive word or phrase that is added to—or replaces—the proper name of a person or object.

Epithet

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Last Updated on June 8, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 77

Epithet - an adjective which expresses a quality or attribute considered characteristic of a person or thing. It is also an appellation or descriptive term which is common in historical titles such as “Catherine the Great.”

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The term is taken from the Greek epitheton, meaning “attributed” or “added,” and was formed by combining epi, meaning “on,” and tithenai, meaning “to place.”

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Homer used many epithets, among them:

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Latest answer posted February 20, 2012, 10:50 pm (UTC)

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“rosy-fingered dawn”
“swift-footed Achilles”
“all-seeing Jove.”


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