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definition of the word epithet

by the Wiktionnary

From Latin, from Greek ἐπίθετον (epitheton), adjective), the neuter of ἐπίθετος (epithetos), attributed, added), from ἐπιτιθέναι (epitithenai), to add on), from ἐπι- (epi-) + τιθέναι (tithenai), to put) (from Proto-Indo-European *dhe- (to put, to do)).

Singular
epithet

Plural
epithets

epithet (plural epithets)

  1. A term used to characterize a person or thing.
    The adjective Terrible in Ivan the Terrible.
  2. A term used as a descriptive substitute for the name or title of a person.
    The Young Pretender for Charles Edward Stuart.
  3. An abusive or contemptuous word or phrase.
    The term faggot referring to homosexuals.
  4. (biology) 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.
    In Cannabis sativa the word sativa is a specific epithet.
    in Festuca ovina subsp. guestphalica the word guestphalica is an infraspecific epithet.

Definition from Wiktionary
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