epigraph

noun
ep·​i·​graph | \ˈe-pə-ˌgraf \

Definition of epigraph 

1 : an engraved inscription

2 : a quotation set at the beginning of a literary work or one of its divisions to suggest its theme

Examples of epigraph in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The extract Barker has taken as an epigraph for her 14th book, The Silence of the Girls, describes Agamemnon and Achilles arguing over the ownership of Briseis in The Iliad. Constance Grady, Vox, "And the rest of the week’s best writing on books and related subjects.," 1 Sep. 2018 Each chapter begins with an epigraph from Édouard Glissant, another Martinican writer who, with Chamoiseau and others, counts among the luminaries of the literary movement called Créolité. New York Times, "Fleeing a Caribbean Plantation Into a Mythic Wilderness," 27 June 2018 That includes Oliver, whose words here could serve as an epigraph for this marvelous play. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "American Players Theatre's comedy 'As You Like It' makes every word count," 19 June 2018 The last poem bears an epigraph from Hannibal Barca, the Carthaginian general who crossed the Alps on elephants in an attempt to defeat Rome. Diana Whitney, San Francisco Chronicle, "New poetry by Tracy K. Smith, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Shauna Hannibal," 28 May 2018 Consequently, this may be the only novel ever to start with epigraphs by W.B. Yeats and Ed Koch. Ron Charles, chicagotribune.com, "As a novelist, David Duchovny is no Sean Penn," 3 May 2018 The exhibit covers the first 1,000 years of Jews in Italy with over 200 artifacts, including manuscripts, medieval documents, epigraphs and objects such as rings, seals, coins, oil lamps and amulets. Sarah Maiellano, USA TODAY, "The best European museum exhibits for spring 2018," 23 Apr. 2018 Come for the Sylvia Plath epigraph, stay for, well, the whole thing. Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Archive Dive Nobody writes about Earth like Reader critic Monica Kendrick," 13 Feb. 2018 Egan also gestures to this paradox by choosing as her epigraph a quote from Herman Melville, who spent most of his life not on the island of Nantucket but on the island of Manhattan. Amor Towles, New York Times, "In ‘Manhattan Beach,’ Jennifer Egan Sets a Crime Story on the Waterfront," 3 Oct. 2017

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

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First Known Use of epigraph

1624, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for epigraph

Greek epigraphē, from epigraphein

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Last Updated

26 Nov 2018

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The first known use of epigraph was in 1624

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