1520s, "an abstract; brief statement of the chief points of some writing," from Middle French épitomé (16c.), from Latin epitome "an abridgment," from Greek epitome "an abridgment, a cutting on the surface; brief summary," from epitemnein "cut short, abridge," from epi "into" (see epi-) + temnein "to cut" (from PIE root *tem- "to cut"). Sense of "person or thing that typifies something" is first recorded c. 1600. Related: Epitomical.
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