In the ICBN, a word that, when combined with the name of a genus, forms the name of an infrageneric taxon (e.g., species, subgenus, section, series) or, when combined with the name of a species, forms the name of an infraspecific taxon (e.g., subspecies, variety, form). The BC also uses the term "epithet" but only at and below the species rank.
a descriptive phrase used in addition to or in place of a name for a person or thing. "City of Light" is an epithet for Paris and "Bard of Avon" is an epithet for Shakespeare. Poets, notably Homer, have used epithets to make their meter come out right. Beware of using epithets too freely in prose. Do not call your protagonist "the red-haired genius" simply because you are tired of calling him Mike. Confusion will result if you refer to characters only by epithets and vary the epithets at every reference.
An adjective or adjectival phrase, usually attached to the name of a person or thing, such as "Richard the Lion-Hearted," Milton's "ivy-crowned Bacchus" in " L'Allegro," or Homer's "rosy-fingered dawn." Sidelight: With epithets, poets can compress the imaginative power of many words into a single compound phrase. Sidelight: An epithet may be either positive or negative in connotation or allusion and sometimes may be freshly coined, like a nonce word, for a particular circumstance or occasion.(Compare Antonomasia, Kenning, Periphrasis)
An epithet (Greek - ÎµÏ€Î¹Î¸ÎµÏ„Î¿Î½ and Latin - epitheton; literally meaning 'imposed') is a descriptive word or phrase that has become a fixed formula. It has various shades of meaning when applied to real or fictitious people, divinities, objects and biological nomenclature. It also means a derogatory word or phrase used to insult someone.