noun \ˈe-pə-ˌtaf\

: something written or said in memory of a dead person; especially : words written on a gravestone

Full Definition of EPITAPH

:  an inscription on or at a tomb or a grave in memory of the one buried there
:  a brief statement commemorating or epitomizing a deceased person or something past
ep·i·taph·ial \ˌe-pə-ˈta-fē-əl\ adjective
ep·i·taph·ic \-ˈta-fik\ adjective

Examples of EPITAPH

  1. The epitaph reads In loving memory of John Gray: husband, father, soldier.

Origin of EPITAPH

Middle English epitaphe, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin epitaphium, from Latin, funeral oration, from Greek epitaphion, from epi- + taphos tomb, funeral
First Known Use: 14th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Inscription in verse or prose on a tomb, or, by extension, anything written as if to be inscribed on a tomb. Probably the earliest surviving epitaphs are those written on ancient Egyptian sarcophagi and coffins. Ancient Greek examples are often of literary interest. In Elizabethan times epitaphs began to assume a more literary character. Many of the best known are literary memorials (often deliberately witty) not intended for a tomb.


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