ep·​i·​logue | \ ˈe-pə-ˌlȯg How to pronounce epilogue (audio) , -ˌläg \
variants: or less commonly epilog

Definition of epilogue

1 : a concluding section that rounds out the design of a literary work
2a : a speech often in verse addressed to the audience by an actor at the end of a play also : the actor speaking such an epilogue
b : the final scene of a play that comments on or summarizes the main action
3 : the concluding section of a musical composition : coda

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Did You Know?

From its Greek roots, epilogue means basically "words attached (at the end)". An epilogue often somehow wraps up a story's action, as in the one for a famous Shakespeare play that ends, "For never was a story of more woe / Than this of Juliet and her Romeo". In nonfiction books, we now often use the term afterword instead of epilogue, just as we now generally use foreword instead of prologue. Movies also often have a kind of epilogue--maybe a scene after the exciting climax when the surviving lovers meet in a café to talk about their future. The epilogue of a musical composition, after all the drama is over, is called the coda (Italian for "tail").

Examples of epilogue in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In her epilogue, Teachout lays out her vision of a glorious monopoly-free future in which Google has been cut up into 57 smaller pieces by 2040. Seth Stern, The Christian Science Monitor, "Will there be a third era of American trust-busting?," 29 July 2020 Below, read the beginnings of The Year of the Monkey's new epilogue, which ruminates on the changes in the world since the book's original publishing and features never-before-seen photos from Smith's own collection. Ew Staff, EW.com, "The Year of the Monkey," 9 July 2020 The epilogue picks up two years later as Payton finishes his successful first term as a state senator. EW.com, "The Politician season 2 binge recap," 19 June 2020 Most writers include this in an epilogue, but here Mooallem weaves these details into the primary narrative itself. David James, Anchorage Daily News, "In ‘This Is Chance!’ 3 days that shook Anchorage, and the woman who helped hold it together," 7 June 2020 Detroit wins one battle, but not the bigger one The epilogue is perhaps just as noteworthy as the Lambeau Leap game. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 in 50: LeRoy Butler landed in the crowd for a celebration that became iconic," 10 Apr. 2020 In the book, this epilogue looks 15 years into the future. Martha Sorren, refinery29.com, "There’s Already A Full Blue Print For A Stargirl Sequel," 16 Mar. 2020 Steven Universe Future, the epilogue series of Steven Universe, will end this month with 10 final episodes. Alicia Kortendick, cleveland, "‘Steven Universe Future’ final season: How to watch, live stream, TV channel, time," 6 Mar. 2020 Elizabeth contributed a prologue and epilogue to the publication. Linda Givetash, NBC News, "Diary of 'Polish Anne Frank' to be published after being rediscovered," 13 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epilogue.' 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 epilogue

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for epilogue

Middle English epiloge, from Middle French epilogue, from Latin epilogus, from Greek epilogos, from epilegein to say in addition, from epi- + legein to say — more at legend

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Time Traveler for epilogue

Time Traveler

The first known use of epilogue was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

4 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Epilogue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epilogue. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for epilogue


How to pronounce epilogue (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of epilogue

: a final section or speech after the main part of a book, play, or musical composition

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for epilogue

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with epilogue

Spanish Central: Translation of epilogue

Nglish: Translation of epilogue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about epilogue

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