Why is Everything Epic?

Every now and then, a fad comes along that really irritates me. The latest of these annoying trends is the excessive use of the word epic.

I don’t know if this craze is limited to my geographical area (Chicago, USA), or if others have noticed it as well. I’d be interested to know.

I decided to investigate the extent to which this word is overused. Turning to Google for some elementary research, I typed “epic” into the search box and hit the jackpot with the return: an estimated 448 million hits. Here’s a sampling:

  • Epic restaurant in Chicago, “where guests can enjoy outstanding food in a dramatic dining room.” Yes, that sounds pretty epic.
  • Epic Games sell, of course, epic video games (don’t forget to check out their epic online shop).
  • “Epic” is an animated film due for release in May, 2013. I’m sure the experience will be nothing short of epic.
  • Epic record company. They’ve been around a while, so maybe they really are epic.
  • Epic Entertainment in Minneapolis is “one of the premier places to see a live concert.” Well, naturally. It is epic, after all.
  • Norwegian Epic. Don’t bother with those ordinary cruise lines. They haven’t got the “newest, largest and most innovative cruise ship ever.” In other words, it’s epic.
  • Epic Hotel Miami. Make sure you plan your epic wedding here.
  • Job hunting? Check out Epic Careers.
  • Epic Brewing Company in Auckland, NZ. Wow — who knew beer could be epic? Learn something every day.

There’s also the casual usage I hear on a daily basis: the local car dealer promoting his epic sale; TV weathermen promising storms of epic proportions; students at school eager to show me their epic snowman. Do ten-year-olds even know what this means?

The dictionary defines epic as: heroic; majestic; impressively great.

That’s a pretty tall order.

Maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t we reserve this word for things that are truly heroic, majestic, or impressively great?

If everything is labeled epic, then by definition, nothing would really be epic anymore. Right?

Categories: General | Tags: , , | 26 Comments

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26 thoughts on “Why is Everything Epic?

  1. katiewritesagain

    Finally, someone else who speaks out against word flogging. I can’t stand watching CNN because they apparently have a word or phrase everyone is required to use for a couple of weeks-like “get sense of” or drill down on” and more but I’m not going to list them because then I’ll be irritated all day, hearing them in my head!
    We’re all familiar with the “ya’know” that comes at the end of a sentence and “like” used irrationally and scattered throughout a person’s dialogue like too much salt. Speech weirdisms are used all over the country. What I wonder is if there are regional words or phrases, like your “epic.” Does this happen in all countries? Surely it does.
    My personal vote for most irritating is “amazing.”
    I watch very little TV, listen to almost no radio and happily miss a great deal of word flogging. When I’m in a patient’s home I’m subjected to whatever they listen to (that’s when I was tortured with CNN for so long.) At home, I enjoy a great deal of silence. Beautiful, rich, sacred silence, broken only by my keystrokes, my cat’s purring and the birds. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to be home when it rains and I can listen to that natural symphony while I work. Heaven.

  2. Katie


  3. Katie

    ;) Couldn’t resist. I do despise inappropriate use of the word. Super annoying.

  4. Rob

    This reminds me of a scene from the movie Liberal Arts where Josh Radnor’s character makes a comment about a book being “the best book ever” and another character goes into this rant, saying:

    “You ever notice how everyone around here speaks in wild hyperbole. Everything’s the best. Like he’s the best professor ever, or, this is the best patty melt on the planet, as if they’ve sampled every possible variety of professor and patty melt which is, as we know, logistically impossible.”

    It’s part of our nature to sensationalize everything, making it “epic,” “amazing,” and “the best ever.”

    Good post!

  5. I have yet to use epic in one of my stories. I’ll have to consider ;) Surely there’s a place somewhere, somehow, someway!

  6. Lemonade Jargon

    We have been using “epic” over here for AGES! I’d add uber to the list too :P it’s epically uber annoying!

  7. Charles Lominec

    Amen. I’d also like to add my irritation to the misuse of the word “literally.” It’s misuse is epic.

  8. Ugh, apparently my misuse of apostrophes is also epic.

  9. Vikas Yadav

    It is really horrendous the way some words are destroyed with their wanton and indiscriminate use. It was a nice post.

    • Thank you, and I agree, which is why I wanted to post about it. Another pet peeve of mine is the overuse of “basically.”

  10. It’s huge here in SW MN, too – I told my kids I didn’t want to hear “Epic Fail” again for a long time!!!!!

  11. marcelino guerrero

    I pay it no mind; EPIC, is usually a nice way of saying “it’s a very long whiff of cow manure”.

  12. Haha great observation Gwen! I am here to tell you that across the globe over here on Australia we are guilty of this word abuse too! Teenagers can oft be heard to proclaim something an epic fail!

    • I had a feeling this was the case. An Australian friend of mine (who lives in Munich, Germany at the moment) – told me her 11-year-old son uses it all the time! Thanks for contributing to the discussion!

  13. I blame it on Hollywood people trying to sound intelligent. They get a buzz word and destroy the word with their overusage of it.

    • So true. Hollywood is shameless in its word flogging, not to mention perpetuating countless cliches.

  14. Oh, it’s made its way over to this side of the pond as well. Not as widespread by the sound of things, it’s mostly reserved for teenagers, thank heavens!

  15. It’s interesting, since I wrote this post, I’ve noticed a decline in this word’s usage. Or maybe I’ve learned to subconsciously block it out. I’m planning a post on another overused word that irritates me! Thanks for sharing your comment – I love knowing what’s going on in other parts of the world. Fascinating!

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