Friday, April 5, 2013

Epic Fail

I recently chatted with a friend, Christy Joy, who is now having a good time of her career abroad. She tagged us in a post about missing us all in our 'home' as college students. She was in the middle of her emotions when I corrected her wrong address of our boarding house in her post. She was kind of laughing at the mistake. How could she forget that memorable place!

She admitted: I fail!

And I said: Epic fail!

Which brings me to wonder about the real origin and meaning of 'epic fail' as an expression. Sometimes I use too many expressions that are not really part of my vocabulary. These are something that I readily hear anywhere but not so common yet.

I googled to find illumination on this but it seemed that all sites point out to the same introductions that the origin of the expression is not clear although there seemed to be an agreement over what its meaning.


The word epic, in literature, is a long type of poetry that talks about a surpassing adventure of a culture hero. It may mean wonderful and awesome. In an extended interpretation, it may also mean something of enormous magnitude or significant effect*.

Based on Urban Dictionary**, epic is a word whose definitions and applications have been raped to death by the younger generation. It has been overused as a catch phrase to refer to a particular person, thing or event taking synonymous to 'shit'.


We all know what the word fail means. Literally speaking, it may mean to become deficient in any measure or degree. In popular culture, this term though is often used as a quick phrase to express derision or disappointment*.

According to Urban Dictionary**, fail is an interjection that one utters to disapprove of something.  It may also be a verb that approximately means the same as 'suck'. The word might have originated from younger generation who put bad reputation on online gaming and shout 'fail' everytime one makes a slight error.

Epic Fail.

The combination of these two words is an exaggeration to itself. Having defined those words, epic fail may essentially mean screwing up in a large scale or losing to a great extent*. 

Urban Dictionary** puts 'epic fail' this way: A mistake of such monumental proportions that it requires its own term in order to successfully point out the unfathomable shortcomings of an individual or a group.

I first heard of the expression some years ago but I really never bothered to use it in my social circles. And now I'm beginning to adopt it as an expression of mockery whenever someone commits a blunder, loses a game, fails a task, or makes a flop.

*Disclaimer: This is not for scholarly use.
**Credits: Urban Dictionary.

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