Mancinian Times’ Primer on Epic Fails

Epic Fail. A phrase that originated in the backwoods of the internet, to signify a fail that was more than exemplary. A fail that was, in fact, epic.

Epic: of unusually great size or extent. From the greek epikós via the greek epos, meaning “word” or “song” and referring to the original epic poetry through the Latin epicus, the direct predescessor into english.

This word has a long and dignified history, and yet I hear so many people drastically misuse it. In order to better understand what this phrase actually means, here is a short tutorial:

This is NOT an epic fail:

Not an Epic Fail

This IS an Epic Fail:

Again, Not an epic fail:

Not an epic fail.
Not an epic fail.

IS an Epic Fail:

Is an Epic Fail
Is an Epic Fail

And just one more time, this one is NOT an epic fail:

And this one IS an Epic Fail:

A historically Epic Fail, from the Odyssey.

An historically Epic Fail.

The truly epic fail must be important enough to be remembered.

If you leave your keys in your pants and forget about it, the only way it is an epic fail is if you are the triggerguard for the nuclear weapons project of your respective country and can’t disarm the firing mechanism at the right time.

If you trip and break your nose, it’s only an epic fail if you’re an important person and happen to kill yourself that way.

If you feed your baby a lemon and he makes funny faces and you tape it and laugh about it, it’s not an epic fail for anyone involved. If, however, you attempt this admittedly hilarious feat and the baby dies from a hitherto unguessed lemon allergy, congratulations: you have probably just come as close as the average person possibly can get to a credibly epic fail.

Basically, if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger. It’s also not an epic fail.

For a wide list of things that aren’t epic failures, search “epic fail” on