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[ep-ik] /ˈɛp ɪk/
adjective, Also, epical
noting or pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style:
Homer's Iliad is an epic poem.
resembling or suggesting such poetry:
an epic novel on the founding of the country.
heroic; majestic; impressively great:
the epic events of the war.
of unusually great size or extent:
a crime wave of epic proportions.
Slang. spectacular; very impressive; awesome:
Their burgers and fries are epic!
Slang. very; extremely:
That's an epic cool video!
an epic poem.
epic poetry.
any composition resembling an epic.
something worthy to form the subject of an epic:
The defense of the Alamo is an American epic.
(initial capital letter). Also called Old Ionic. the Greek dialect represented in the Iliad and the Odyssey, apparently Aeolic modified by Ionic.
Origin of epic
1580-90; < Latin epicus < Greek epikós. See epos, -ic
Related forms
epically, adverb
epiclike, adjective
nonepic, adjective, noun
nonepical, adjective
nonepically, adverb
semiepic, adjective, noun
semiepical, adjective
semiepically, adverb
superepic, adjective, noun
unepic, adjective
Can be confused
epic, epoch. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for epics
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The whole situation, we shall show, recurs again and again in the epics of feudal France, the later epics of feudal discontent.

    Homer and His Age Andrew Lang
  • The fault, however, lies with the translators rather than with the epics.

  • Perhaps that's my inheritance from the old minstrels--for they chanted their ballads and epics, didn't they?

    The Precipice Elia Wilkinson Peattie
  • Nor is it clear that my epics, to be perfect, would need to be quite endless.

    Why we should read S. P. B. Mais
  • Indian epics contain many notices of numerous demigods, and the planets are also deified.

  • Helbig thinks the epics silent about the gold spangles on dresses.

    Homer and His Age Andrew Lang
  • Krishna and other figures in the epics live human lives with all human virtues and vices.

  • Men in the epics have the strongest sense of dependence on them.

    The World of Homer Andrew Lang
British Dictionary definitions for epics


a long narrative poem recounting in elevated style the deeds of a legendary hero, esp one originating in oral folk tradition
the genre of epic poetry
any work of literature, film, etc, having heroic deeds for its subject matter or having other qualities associated with the epic: a Hollywood epic
an episode in the lives of men in which heroic deeds are performed or attempted: the epic of Scott's expedition to the South Pole
denoting, relating to, or characteristic of an epic or epics
of heroic or impressive proportions: an epic voyage
Word Origin
C16: from Latin epicus, from Greek epikos, from epos speech, word, song
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 epics



1580s, perhaps via Middle French épique or directly from Latin epicus, from Greek epikos, from epos "word, story, poem," from PIE *wekw- "to speak" (see voice). Extended sense of "grand, heroic" first recorded in English 1731. The noun meaning "an epic poem" is first recorded 1706.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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epics in Culture

epic definition

A long narrative poem written in elevated style, in which heroes of great historical or legendary importance perform valorous deeds. The setting is vast in scope, covering great nations, the world, or the universe, and the action is important to the history of a nation or people. The Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid are some great epics from world literature, and two great epics in English are Beowulf and Paradise Lost.

Note: Figuratively, any task of great magnitude may be called “epic,” as in an “epic feat” or an “epic undertaking.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Related Abbreviations for epics


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The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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