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 Eleven’s mental search for Max is part of a half-hour epilogue that somehow moves much more swiftly than some of the parts where characters are battling demons or members of the U.S. military. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 1 July 2022 The update comes in the form of a new epilogue that covers some of what Meghan and Harry have gone through in the last year. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, 21 Aug. 2021 In an epilogue, Mr. Atxaga somewhat defensively explains that his primary theme is friendship. Sam Sacks, WSJ, 19 Aug. 2022 The news comes from James Gunn directly, who confirmed on Twitter that the holiday special will be the current phase’s epilogue. Chris Smith, BGR, 1 Aug. 2022 Heck, the climax is among the film's best elements, including the epilogue that playfully explains the film’s subtitle. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 11 July 2022 Set across eight dramatically transformative years in Freddie’s life, the film is divided in three, and rounded off with an epilogue — with the first section, detailing this first visit to Seoul, the longest and most straightforward. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 27 May 2022 Case in point: The Emmy-winning stand-up comic opens with an epilogue, concludes with the prologue and drops in an intermission to encourage mid-reading decompression. Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2022 Radomski provides another hopeful note in the epilogue. Paul A. Smith, Journal Sentinel, 7 July 2022 See More

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.

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

22 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Epilogue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epilogue. Accessed 25 Sep. 2022.

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