Remembering Jane Straus | May 18, 1954—February 25, 2011 | Author of the original Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation
The epitome of means "the essence of." It does not mean "the best," "the height of." Sam is the epitome of humility means that Sam is a perfect example of a humble person. It doesn't necessarily mean that he's one of the humblest men who ever lived.
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