Epithets of Famous People

alex atkins bookshelf wordsAn epithet, from the Greek word epithetos (meaning “added” or “attributed”), is a nickname that is added to a person’s name (eg, Ivan IV Vasilyevich is known as Ivan the Terrible) or an attribution of specific qualities to a person’s name (eg, André René Roussimoff is known as Andre the Giant). Some epithets become so established that they are more well known than the actual persons they refer to (eg, most people know of Alexander the Great, but don’t know his real name, Alexander III of Macedon). Here is a list of some famous people and their epithets.

Adele: British Queen of Soul

Alexander III of Macedon: Alexander the Great

Muhammed Ali: The Greatest or The Greatest of All Time

Louis Armstrong: The King of Jazz Trumpet

Chuck Berry: King of Rock and Roll

Tony Blair: Teflon Tony

James Brown: Godfather of Soul

Jerry Brown: Governor Moonbeam

Al Capone: Scarface

Wilt Chamberlain: Wilt the Stilt

Winston Churchill: British Bulldog

Bill Clinton: Slick Willie or Bubba

William Frederick Cody: Buffalo Bill

Bob Dylan: King of Folk

Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Soul

Henry Louis Gehrig: The Iron Horse

Andrew Jackson: Old Hickory

Michael Jackson: King of Pop

Michael Jordan: Air Jordan

Abraham Lincoln: Honest Abe

Charles Lindbergh: The Lone Eagle

Madonna: Queen of Pop

Benito Mussolini: Il Duce (Italian for “The Chief” or “The Leader”)

Richard Nixon: Tricky Dick

Annie Oakley: Little Miss Sure Shot

Elvis Presley: King of Rock and Roll

Prince: The Artist or The Purple One

Ronald Reagan: The Gipper or The Great Communicator

Rihanna: Caribbean Queen

André René Roussimoff: Andre the Giant

Bruce Springsteen: The Boss

Taylor Swift: Country-Pop Princess

Mother Teresa: Saint of the Gutters

Margaret Thatcher: The Iron Lady

Usher: King of R&B

Ivan IV Vasilyevich: Ivan the Terrible

John Wayne: The Duke

Neil Young: Godfather of Grunge

Read related posts: Most Common Nicknames for Shakespeare
How Did O. Henry Get His Pen Name?
Who is Alan Smithee?
How Famous Singers Got Their Names
How Rock Bands Got Their Names

For further reading: Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English: Colloquialisms, and Catch-Phrases, Solecisms and Catachresis, Nicknames, and Vulgarisms by Eric Partridge
Baseball Nicknames: A Dictionary of Origins and Meaning by James Skipper
A Dictionary of Epithets and Terms of Address by Leslie Dunkling


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