October 26th, 2007


Friday Feature - Writing Tips: Epithets

Writing Tips: Epithets

with examples from Lord of the Rings, Stargate SG-1, Smallville, Due South

"Epithets?" you say. "Doesn't that mean cursing?" And it's true, we most often hear the word in the context of "hurling epithets at each other."

A nine-way spat in Middle Earth might consist of:

"Filthy Human!"

"Stuck up Elf!"

"Drunken Hobbits!"

"Grubby Dwarf!"

These are examples of the secondary listing for "epithet" in the Oxford American Dictionary:
such a word or phrase as a term of abuse

The primary definition is:
an adjective or descriptive phrase expressing a quality characteristic of the person or thing mentioned

This more general sense of epithet is one you'll be more familiar with in use. Collapse )