Epithet

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Dr. Goodword
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Epithet

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:08 pm

• epithet •


Pronunciation: e-pê-thet • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary

Meaning: A descriptive word or phrase, representing a personal judgment, used to characterize someone or something, such as referring to someone as "a legend", dirty in 'Dirty Harry' or 'dirty old man', or "lionheart" in 'Richard the Lionheart'.

Notes: Epithets may be laudatory or derogatory, as exemplified in the Meaning above. The adjective is either epithetic or epithetical, but only the latter may serve as base of the adverb, epithetically.

In Play: Epithets are ever-present in our speech, whenever someone shares a judgment: "It has become commonplace to add the epithet 'green' to everything environmentally friendly, regardless of its color." "Billy demurred from an elaborate tattoo because he didn't want to hear the epithets he would have to endure in school."

Word History: English picked this one up either from Middle French épithète or directly from Latin epitheton, source also of Portuguese and Spanish epíteto and Italian epiteto. Latin borrowed the word from the neuter of Greek epithetos "attributed, added", the past participle of epitithenai "to add on", based on epi "on(to)" + tithenai "to put, to place", a reduplicated form of PIE root dhe-/dho- "to set, put", origin also of English do and doom, and Russian duma "national assembly". Since the voiced aspirated consonants ([bh] and [dh]) both became [f] in Latin, we are not surprised to find the same word in Latin as facere "to do", visible in many English borrowings, such as fact, facile, and face, from the Latin derivative facies "shape, form, face". (Should we cast an epithet on William Hupy for submitting such eminent Good Words as today's, it would certainly be "stalwart contributor".)
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damoge
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Re: Epithet

Postby damoge » Tue Jul 21, 2020 12:08 pm

Does that mean the domesday book of 1086 was so named just because every one was to be put in it?
I always wondered about that one!
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David Myer
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Re: Epithet

Postby David Myer » Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:31 am

Well, the Domesday book official website itself reports:

"Why is it called the 'Domesday' Book?

It was written by an observer of the survey that "there was no single hide nor a yard of land, nor indeed one ox nor one cow nor one pig which was left out". The grand and comprehensive scale on which the Domesday survey took place, and the irreversible nature of the information collected led people to compare it to the Last Judgement, or 'Doomsday', described in the Bible, when the deeds of Christians written in the Book of Life were to be placed before God for judgement. This name was not adopted until the late 12th Century."

This in one form or another, seems to be widely accepted on the internet.

I had always taken it to be because once the information was gathered it spelt the end for individual freedoms - now big brother knows all about us, there is no hiding. Seems much more likely to me!


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