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

The currently popular operatic version is two acts, but with a prologue and epilogue that have the captain reminiscing, in old age, about the terrible things that happened to Billy long ago. Ray Mark Rinaldi, The Know, "Review: A 1951 opera is making a comeback because it’s, you know, a little gay," 21 June 2019 The end of Dark Phoenix played almost like an epilogue, setting each character on a new path that effectively concluded their stories from the film franchise. Sydney Bucksbaum, refinery29.com, "Dark Phoenix May Be The End Of The X-Men Franchise As We Know It," 10 June 2019 From that time forward, a torturous and terrible, unnecessary and motion-starved epilogue had begun to stretch relentlessly onward, both in Moscow and throughout Nina’s travels. Sarah Vitali, Harper's magazine, "Kill Your Darlings," 10 May 2019 David de Vries reads both introduction and epilogue, while Paul Woodson delivers the main story, superbly conveying the desolation of a man embattled by various kinds of treachery. Washington Post, "Turn up the volume: This month’s best audiobooks have something to say," 17 June 2019 The extended epilogue featuring the true follow-up to the disaster is chilling. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'Chernobyl' recap: Final, horrifying episode features the radioactive political fallout," 26 Apr. 2018 But there was also an epilogue to Michelle’s story: she and her husband got divorced in part because of the strain her disability put on the relationship. Esme Mazzeo, Glamour, "To Convince Dates My Wheelchair Isn't A Burden, I First Had to Convince Myself," 16 May 2019 Carnage Venom’s first credits scene, which airs in the middle of the credits, functions as both a mini-epilogue for the film and a tease for a future sequel. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Venom’s 2 end-credits scenes, explained," 5 Oct. 2018 The play Romeo and Juliet begins, famously, with a prologue that is epilogue — two people have died, and are already buried. Laura Hudson, The Verge, "Why Return of the Obra Dinn is my game of the year," 21 Dec. 2018

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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Statistics for epilogue

Last Updated

22 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for epilogue

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

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More Definitions for epilogue



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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More from Merriam-Webster on epilogue

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with epilogue

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for epilogue

Spanish Central: Translation of epilogue

Nglish: Translation of epilogue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about epilogue

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