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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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 Jones’s compelling and wide-ranging investigation—marred only by a prologue and an epilogue that feel too cute—is, inevitably, replete with upsetting information about the gross neglect of our environment. Claire Messud, Harper's Magazine, 20 July 2021 To do so many things at once, the show consists of four discrete sections: the lobby installation, a participatory workshop led by the company, a scripted play with music, and an epilogue. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 29 June 2021 Infinite also commits the sin of ending on an epilogue teasing a far more enjoyable movie. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 10 June 2021 Steven Universe is a wonderful show, and this movie is a nice epilogue to its legacy. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, 7 July 2021 The film ends with a surprisingly moving and empathetic epilogue which highlights the core Veggie Tales-Christianity appeal which makes Conjuring more than just a religious horror series. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 4 June 2021 Whether that’s more seasons or simply some kind of El Camino movie epilogue, who can say? Anne Victoria Clark, Vulture, 10 Mar. 2021 The book’s epilogue finds the author visiting the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture with his grandparents, who grew up in the Jim Crow South. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 June 2021 After the events from last episode and the death of Ridgeway, this episode feels more epilogue than conclusion. Steffan Triplett, Vulture, 17 May 2021

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

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Last Updated

24 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Epilogue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epilogue. Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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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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