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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Roses always seemed more personal; the very epitome of romance.
▪ It was the very epitome of what a great sporting occasion should be about and very seldom is.
▪ From his dark expertly cut hair to his hand-made shoes he was the epitome of the new young man.
▪ He was the epitome of the dashing, flamboyant, slightly scruffy Bomber Pilot.
▪ Seen by romantic eyes it is the epitome of the nobility of nature, but what is the truth of the situation?
▪ The epitome of this process was William's great taxation record, the Domesday Book of 1086.
▪ The suburbans were seen as the epitome of clerkly conformism, complacency, and conservatism.
▪ Vladek, like Rupert, is the epitome of pluck: jaunty, stouthearted and as resourceful as he is intrepid.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Epitome \E*pit"o*me\, n.; pl. Epitomes. [L., fr. Gr. ? a surface incision, also, and abridgment, fr. ? to cut into, cut short; 'epi` upon + te`mnein to cut: cf. F. ['e]pitome. See Tome.]

  1. A work in which the contents of a former work are reduced within a smaller space by curtailment and condensation; a brief summary; an abridgement.

    [An] epitome of the contents of a very large book.
    --Sydney Smith.

  2. A compact or condensed representation of anything; something possessing conspicuously or to a high degree the qualities of a class.

    An epitome of English fashionable life.

    A man so various that he seemed to be Not one, but all mankind's epitome.

    Syn: Abridgement; compendium; compend; abstract; synopsis; abbreviature. See Abridgment.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1520s, "an abstract; brief statement of the chief points of some writing," from Middle French épitomé (16c.), from Latin epitome "an abridgment," from Greek epitome "an abridgment, a cutting on the surface; brief summary," 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. Related: Epitomical.


n. 1 (context of a class of items English) The embodiment or encapsulation of. 2 (context of a class of items English) A representative example. 3 (context of a class of items English) The height; the best. 4 (context of a written document English) A brief summary.

  1. n. a standard or typical example; "he is the prototype of good breeding"; "he provided America with an image of the good father" [syn: prototype, paradigm, image]

  2. a brief abstract (as of an article or book)


An epitome (; , from ἐπιτέμνειν epitemnein meaning "to cut short") is a summary or miniature form; an instance that represents a larger reality, also used as a synonym for embodiment. Epitomacy represents, "to the degree of." An abridgment differs from an epitome in that an abridgment is made of selected quotations of a larger work; no new writing is composed, as opposed to the epitome, which is an original summation of a work, at least in part.

Many documents from the Ancient Greek and Roman worlds survive now only "in epitome", referring to the practice of some later authors (epitomators) who wrote distilled versions of larger works now lost. Some writers attempted to convey the stance and spirit of the original, while others added further details or anecdotes regarding the general subject. As with all secondary historical sources, a different bias not present in the original may creep in.

Documents surviving in epitome differ from those surviving only as fragments quoted in later works and those used as unacknowledged sources by later scholars, as they can stand as discrete documents but refracted through the views of another author.

Epitomes of a kind are still produced today when dealing with a corpus of literature, especially classical works often considered dense and unwieldy and unlikely to be read by the average person, to make them more accessible: some are more along the lines of abridgments, such as many which have been written of Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a work of eight large volumes (some 3600 pages), often published as one volume of about 1200 pages.

Some are of the same type as the ancient epitome, such as various epitomes of the Summa Theologiae of St Thomas Aquinas, originally written as an introductory textbook in theology, and now accessible to very few except for the learned in theology and Aristotelian philosophy , such as A Summa of the Summa and A Shorter Summa. Many epitomes today are published under the general title, "The Companion to...", such as The Oxford Companion to Aristotle or "An Overview of" or "guides", such as An Overview of the Thought of Immanuel Kant, How to Read Hans Urs von Balthasar, or, in some cases, as an introduction, in the cases of An Introduction to Søren Kierkegaard or A Very Short Introduction to the New Testament (many philosophical "introductions" and "guides" share the epitomic form, unlike general "introductions" to a field).

Epitome (album)

Epitome is an album by the American jazz saxophonist Odean Pope recorded in 1993 and released on the Italian Soul Note label.

Epitome (film)

is a 1953 Japanese drama film written and directed by Kaneto Shindo.

Epitome (data processing)

An epitome, in data processing, is a condensed digital representation of the essential statistical properties of ordered datasets such as matrices that represent images, audio signals, videos or genetic sequences. Although much smaller than the data, the epitome contains many of its smaller overlapping parts with much less repetition and with some level of generalization. As such, it can be used in tasks such as data mining, machine learning and signal processing.

The first use of epitomic analysis was with image textures for the purposes of image parsing. Epitomes have also been used in video processing to replace, remove or superresolve imagery.

Epitomes are also being investigated as tools for vaccine design.

Epitome (disambiguation)

An epitome (pronounced ; originally from the Ancient Greek epitomḗ meaning " abridgment" or "cut") is a summary or miniature form of a text. The word is also commonly used to label something or someone considered to be a prime or the best example of something (as in, for example, "She looked the epitome of haute couture"). It may otherwise refer to:

  • Epitome (film), a 1953 Japanese film
  • Epitome (album), a 1993 album by saxophonist Odean Pope
  • Epitome (data processing), a condensed digital representation of statistical properties
  • Epitome Pictures, a Canadian television production company
  • Epitome (horse), a Thoroughbred racehorse
Epitome (horse)

Epitome (April 21, 1985 – November 12, 2004) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. After losing five of her first six races she recorded her first significant win in the Pocahontas Stakes, before establishing herself as one of the best fillies of her generation in North America by taking the fourth edition of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. She was voted the American Champion Two-Year-Old Filly of 1987. She won two minor races from six starts in the following year before being retired from racing. She had a solid breeding record as a broodmare, producing eight winners including the UAE Derby winner Essence of Dubai.

Usage examples of "epitome".

To a newly minted young lawyer, they seemed the epitome of hospitality and noble friendliness, offering lodging to newcomers and hosting dinners and parties at Bellevue and Belvidere for those who came to town for the circuit court in the spring and fall.

Leukemia was the epitome of my helplessness, for the treatment was to bomb the bone marrow with cell poisons called cytotoxins until it looked, under the microscope, like Hiroshima, all black, empty, and scorched.

The object of the epitome was to enable an individual to gather encyclopaedic knowledge without needing to plough through an entire work.

They are the epitome, the extreme against which other gangs measure themselves.

Gryntaro was the epitome of the rough-and-tumble, no-nonsense type of Qanska, the sort who would be instantly and unanimously put in charge if the Counselors and Leaders and Wise ever decided to organize an army and take on the Vuuka in a straight-up battle.

That, now, is what old Bowditch in his Epitome calls the zodiac, and what my almanack below calls ditto.

I called on Count Lamberg and his countess, who, without being beautiful, was an epitome of feminine charm and amiability.

Seated as he was on that night, poring over some sheets of vellum by the dimming-flaring light of a lamp, he looked the epitome of a noble-born great captain, a wealthy war-leader of armies of this world's late seventeenth centuryclothed well and expensively, a belt of silver plates set with semiprecious stones cinching his waist and a bejeweled dagger depending from it.

His hair was more hairy, his clothes more clothy, his boots the epitome of bootness.

She had drawn up for her own use an epitome of oriental history, and familiarly compared the beauties of Homer and Plato under the tuition of the sublime Longinus.

The driver, a sergeant by the name of Giscard, was at least six feet three in height, burly, red faced, tight mouthed and, even to the cold, insolent eyes, was the conceptualized epitome of the dyed-in-the-wool tough cop.

The lumbering young man in Chicago had made himself into the best forger and disguiser in the world, and Chloe decided that the three of them alone were the epitomes of his handiwork.

The house next to Reynaud’s Bakery became warm and dear, Lee the epitome of friend and counselor, his father the cool, dependable figure of godhead, his brother clever and delightful, and Abra —well, of Abra he made his immaculate dream and, having created her, fell in love with her.

To Reich she was the epitome of the modern career girl---the virgin seductress.

Reich she was the epitome of the modern career girl---the virgin seductress.