What is the epithet

The main task of language both oral and written, is the transmission of thoughts, emotions, and opinions between people. It is very important is the emotional side. To Express their feelings and to convey the impression that there is a huge amount of a variety of ways. One of them is the use in speech epithets. This raises a logical question: epithet – what is it? Consider this concept in different variants of its use.

What is the epithet

With ancient Greek language the word «epithet» is translated as «application». In other words, it is an addition that helps to make the main word more expressive and comprehensible.

The most common adjectives use adjectives, at least – numerals adverbs or nouns. Usually the adjective is placed before the main word. To provide basic concept of new content and a vivid emotional tone, can be used multiple words.

The use of adjectives in literature

The widespread use of the epithets found in the literature. They saturate the authors not only poetry but prose as well, where the epithets serve as a powerful linguistic tool. Analysis of the works of contemporary authors and works of the past years gives you an idea that is similar to many fine tools that are often used in the literature, the epithets are, however, rapidly developed and improved, to a new level.

In folklore and other folk art, they are often used in order to describe objects and phenomena, with an emphasis on their features. But as for the emotional side, it was practically not touched upon countless riches, the fair maiden, etc.

Over time, the role of epithets in literature reached a new level, acquiring more functionality and properties. They most clearly represented in the works related to the Silver age: lazy-passionate rose hips, etc.

In the works of contemporary authors, especially if to take into account the works of postmodernists, their structure is more complicated. So you may notice a rather unusual and expressive techniques, which was achieved when using adjectives: diaper was gilded, lush blooming diathesis.

The use of epithets in a literary language

Using epithets, the narrator may Express a relation to some subjects about which he wants to tell or show them to the reader with a completely different point of view. Often they are used to recreate the historical atmosphere of different eras, demonstrations of ethnic flavor. Adjectives are a powerful tool that is used to transmit the necessary images through words, their versatile, emotional content.


Are there any differences between epithets and metaphors

With the purpose of giving his work of bright colors, the authors often use not only adjectives, but also metaphors that are sometimes difficult to distinguish from each other. But, if you look closely, you can see the obvious difference.

The concept of the epithet is figurative definition, which characterizes the stable and unchanging feature of an object, question or concept – lightning reaction, fragrant flower etc. most Often it is expressed in one word, which acts as a Supplement to the main idea and is its essential and inseparable property. In the speech independently using the epithet impossible.


Quite different is the case with metaphor. It is a language constructor, consisting of a number of words that have independent meaning and is used to transfer the image from one particular subject to another. Use it if you want to create an associative relationship between different, at first glance the concepts. Moreover, this Association is effective only in the specific example: scattering of dewy pearls, which lies on the green grass.

You may notice that in some cases the epithet acts as a part of the metaphor. But the metaphor become part of the epithet — it is impossible.


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