elegy

noun el·e·gy \ ˈe-lə-jē \
|Updated on: 12 Jun 2018

Definition of elegy

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

Examples of elegy in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples of elegy from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elegy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

elegy vs. eulogy

Both elegy and eulogy may be used about writing or speech in remembrance of a person who has passed away, and this semantic overlap creates the potential for confusion. Elegy (which may be traced to the Greek word elegos, “song of mourning”) commonly refers to a song or poem lamenting one who is dead; the word may also refer somewhat figuratively to a nostalgic poem, or to a kind of musical composition. While eulogy is also commonly found referring to words about the deceased, its basic meaning, both in English and in the Greek language from which it was borrowed, is “praise.” Formed from the Greek roots eu “good” and logos “speech,” a eulogy is an encomium given for one who is either living or dead. If you are praising your partner’s unsurpassed beauty or commending the virtues of the deceased at a funeral, you are delivering a eulogy; if you are composing a lamenting reminiscence about a person who has long since passed, you are writing an elegy.

Origin and Etymology of elegy

Latin elegia poem in elegiac couplets, from Greek elegeia, elegeion, from elegos song of mourning

elegy Synonyms

Synonyms

dirge, lament, requiem;

Near Antonyms

encomium, eulogy, paean, panegyric;


ELEGY Defined for English Language Learners

elegy

Definition of elegy for English Language Learners

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



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