noun \ˈe-lə-jē\

: a sad poem or song : a poem or song that expresses sorrow for someone who is dead

plural el·e·gies

Full Definition of ELEGY

:  a poem in elegiac couplets
a :  a song or poem expressing sorrow or lamentation especially for one who is dead
b :  something (as a speech) resembling such a song or poem
a :  a pensive or reflective poem that is usually nostalgic or melancholy
b :  a short pensive musical composition

Examples of ELEGY

  1. <O Captain! My Captain! is Walt Whitman's elegy on the death of President Lincoln>

Origin of ELEGY

Latin elegia poem in elegiac couplets, from Greek elegeia, elegeion, from elegos song of mourning
First Known Use: 1501

Related to ELEGY

Other Music Terms

cacophony, chorister, concerto, counterpoint, madrigal, obbligato, presto, presto, refrain, riff, segue


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Meditative lyric poem. The classical elegy was any poem written in elegiac metre (alternating lines of dactylic hexameter and pentameter). Today the term may refer to this metre rather than to content, but in English literature since the 16th century it has meant a lament in any metre. A distinct variety with a formal pattern is the pastoral elegy, such as John Milton's “Lycidas” (1638). Poets of the 18th-century Graveyard School reflected on death and immortality in elegies, most famously Thomas Gray's “An Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard” (1751).


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