Definition of epigram
1 : a concise poem dealing pointedly and often satirically with a single thought or event and often ending with an ingenious turn of thought
2 : a terse, sage, or witty and often paradoxical saying
3 : epigrammatic expression
epigrammatismplay \ˌe-pə-ˈgra-mə-ˌti-zəm\ noun
epigrammatistplay \ˌe-pə-ˈgra-mə-tist\ noun
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Examples of epigram in a Sentence
Benjamin Franklin's famous epigram, “Remember that time is money”.
Recent Examples of epigram from the Web
Over the years, Mattis became known for his supply of rousing epigrams—a kind of fighting man’s Bartlett’s, rich with high-minded incitements to violence.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epigram'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Ancient Greeks and Romans used the word epigramma (from Greek epigraphein, meaning "to write on") to refer to a concise, witty, and often satirical verse. The Roman poet Martial (who published eleven books of these epigrammata, or epigrams, between the years 86 and 98 C.E.) was a master of the form: "You puff the poets of other days, / the living you deplore. / Spare me the accolade: your praise / Is not worth dying for." English speakers adopted the "verse" sense of the word when we first used epigram for a concise poem dealing pointedly and often satirically with a single thought or event in the 15th century. In the late 18th century, we began using epigram for concise, witty sayings, even if they didn't rhyme.
Origin and Etymology of epigram
Middle English epigrame, from Latin epigrammat-, epigramma, from Greek, from epigraphein to write on, inscribe, from epi- + graphein to write — more at carve
First Known Use: 15th century
EPIGRAM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of epigram for English Language Learners
: a short and clever poem or saying
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