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Epithet is an adjective or phrase expressing a quality or attribute regarded as characteristic of the person or the thing mentioned.
  • An epithet can be a descriptive term that occurs in the place of a name
  • Epithets can also be attached in the place of a person's name or appear as a pronoun
  • Epithets are characteristic of the style of ancient epic poetry
  • An epithet is an adjective or adjectival phrase and can be both positive or negative
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
~Stopping by woods on a snowy evening
Robert Frost
Here 'little' horse, 'frozen' lake, 'darkest' evening, 'easy' wind and 'downy flake' are epithets, as it describes the appearance of the horse and the phenomenon of the evening time, the depth of the wind blowing and the type of flake.
Epithets from the poem 'The River':
  • River, river, little river - The epithet little describes the size of the river
  • O’er the yellow pebbles dancing - The epithet yellow describes the pebbles
  • Like impetuous youth - The youth is described as acting without thinking, using the epithet impetuous
  • River, river! brimming river - The epithet brimming describes that the river is full
  • River, river! headlong river - The epithet headlong describes the river as flowing quickly
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). English Standard-9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening- Robert Frost  (pp. 18-21). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.