Nothing makes you look quite so foolish as spelling a sophisticated word incorrectly. Taken directly from Greek, where it means “abridgement,” “epitome” is now most often used to designate an extremely representative example of the general class: “Snow White is the epitome of a Disney cartoon feature.” Those who don’t misspell this word often mispronounce it, misled by its spelling, as “EP-i-tohm,” but the proper pronunciation is “ee-PIT-o-mee.” The word means “essence,” not “climax,” so instead of writing “the market had reached the epitome of frenzied selling at noon,” use “peak” or a similar word.

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