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[ih-pit-uh-mee] /ɪˈpɪt ə mi/
a person or thing that is typical of or possesses to a high degree the features of a whole class:
He is the epitome of goodness.
a condensed account, especially of a literary work; abstract.
Origin of epitome
1520-30; < Latin epitomē abridgment < Greek epitomḗ abridgment, surface incision. See epi-, -tome
Related forms
[ep-i-tom-i-kuh l] /ˌɛp ɪˈtɒm ɪ kəl/ (Show IPA),
epitomic, adjective
1. embodiment, exemplification, model, typification, quintessence. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for epitome
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That "I am" seems a sort of epitome of the humanism, not to say of the pathos of the humanism of the time.

    The Will to Doubt Alfred H. Lloyd
  • "He does not love me and I do not deserve that he should," was her epitome of the situation.

    A War-Time Wooing Charles King
  • There is no need to form an abstract or epitome of a work in which nothing is superfluous, nothing valueless.

  • Mrs. Delamere is doubtless an epitome of all the virtues, but I never heard of her.

    The Tragic Muse Henry James
  • The author has drawn fully from the best writers on the subject, and her book is an epitome of the best thought of all.

    A Book for All Readers Ainsworth Rand Spofford
British Dictionary definitions for epitome


a typical example of a characteristic or class; embodiment; personification: he is the epitome of sloth
a summary of a written work; abstract
Derived Forms
epitomical (ˌɛpɪˈtɒmɪkəl), epitomic, adjective
Word Origin
C16: via Latin from Greek epitomē, from epitemnein to abridge, from epi- + temnein to cut
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for epitome

1520s, "an abstract; brief statement of the chief points of some writing," from Middle French épitomé (16c.), from Latin epitome "abridgment," from Greek epitome "abridgment," from epitemnein "cut short, abridge," from epi "into" (see epi-) + temnein "to cut" (see tome). Sense of "person or thing that typifies something" is first recorded c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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