The noun epithet is a descriptive nickname, such as "Richard the Lionhearted," or "Tommy the Terrible." When it takes a turn for the worse, it can also be a word or phrase that offends.
Don’t let epithet’s bad reputation fool you — that’s only half the story. An epithet can be harmless, a nickname that catches on, like all hockey fans knowing that "Sid the Kid" is Sidney Crosby. On the flip side, an epithet can be an abusive word or phrase that should never be used, like a racial epithet that offends and angers everyone.