Epithets examples characteristics functions types


An epithet is a rhetorical device that consists of an adjective that qualifies the noun, but that is not alien to its own characteristics and qualities . Examples of epithets are “the green grass”, “the fresh wind” or “the cold snow”. Epithets examples

As can be seen, the nouns (grass, wind and snow) are qualified with an adjective that is responsible for enhancing their own quality to embellish or emphasize the content of the statement .

The epithet is a permanent word or term whose function is to qualify and enhance the characteristics that describe a person or thing. For example: Simón Bolívar “El Libertador” or Alejandro “Magno”. Now, epithets are commonly used in poems to maximize their expressive character.


The epithet is characterized by the following aspects:

– Source

When talking about epithet it is necessary to know its etymological origin. In this sense, the term comes from the Greek word epitheton , which translates as “more” or “added.” Hence, this literary figure is added to a noun only to emphasize a quality that belongs to it.

– Qualifier

The most significant feature of the epithet is to express in a qualifying way a quality that a noun has. In general, the trait that is manifested is recognized by the majority because it is part of the essence or nature of the person, animal or object of which it is spoken.


The fiery sun .

The soft honey.

– Does not alter

The epithet or qualifying adjective does not alter or modify the meaning of the sentence if it is eliminated or not mentioned. This is because it enhances a characteristic that belongs to the noun to which it is attached.


Manuel walked on the white snow for a long time.

Manuel walked on the snow for a long time.

– It is not limiting

The feature of the epithet of not being limiting refers to the fact that it does not restrict or shorten the function of the noun. This occurs because this literary resource is responsible for highlighting a trait that is understood to have the person, object or animal of which it is spoken. Epithets examples

Generally, the epithet is placed before the noun within the Spanish language and it is understood that it is done so that the sentence or phrase is freer and not limited.


The studious pupils go to school.

Students students go to school.

In the second sentence, the adjective “studious” limits or shortens the type of students who attend school. Not only the scholars go, there are also those who are not applied or those who do not have a good behavior, for example.

Epithet functions

The functions of the epithet are associated with its own concept. In this way, this literary element fulfills the objective of qualifying the noun to which it is linked or accompanied.

In this sense, it is not necessary for the meaning or meaning of the sentence or phrase, since it only reveals a feature that belongs to said noun.

According to the above, the functions of the epithet are to embellish the text and at the same time emphasize an innate or natural quality of the noun. Therefore, this element of rhetoric is about expressiveness and styling to capture the attention of the recipients. Epithets examples


There are a variety of epithets that are classified according to their subjective or objective character:

Typifying epithets

This type of epithet refers to the enhancement of a quality or trait that is typical of the noun, that is, that by nature is part of it. Example: The dry fields of the Middle East.

Metaphorical epithets

This variety of epithet is made up of metaphors, whose quality is attributed or added to the noun of the metaphor itself. Example: the classic “crystalline brake” by the Spanish poet Luis de Góngora to refer to the slow flow of the waters.

Pejorative epithets

Pejorative epithets are those that manifest and bring out negative features of the noun that it accompanies. They generally have subjective value. Example: I don’t feel like going to boring math class.

Appreciative epithets

This type of epithet focuses on subjectively highlighting the positive qualities and characteristics of the noun. Example: How delicious was the salad that I ate yesterday!

Emphatic epithets

They are those epithets that are specifically responsible for enhancing a certain characteristic of the noun to which they are added. Example: The country has become a decadent circus run by a clown.

Appositive epithets

These epithets are those that are separated by commas in order to keep the receiver attentive and interested. Example: His sad, gloomy, desolate soul.

Epic epithets

Epic epithets are those that accompany the name of a character within novels, especially epics. Example: Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, the Cid Campeador.

Homeric epithets

The Homeric epithets are typical of the epics and have their origin in Ancient Greece. Example: Athena, the one with the bright eyes. Epithets examples

Surreal epithets

These types of epithets bring imaginary and unreal qualities to the noun. Example: Incandescent tears.

Examples of epithets

– He approached with his gentle gaze.

– He looked at me with his blue eyes.

– I was watching the silent sea.

– I couldn’t stand the cold wind.

– I got dehydrated from the merciless heat.

– I could appreciate the bright morning.

– He marked me with his cruel forgetfulness.

– And I walked into the dark night.

– And she left in the quiet afternoon.

– I was deafened by the shrill thunder.

– I felt small before the imposing pyramids.

– And there was the colossus Zeus on Olympus .

– I had a long way to go to navigate the long road.

– The long- lived Japanese still amaze me .

– I can’t stop listening to the old radio.

– The dog sat in front of the quiet pond.

– The inclement winter is coming.

– I never liked your lousy service.

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