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 Three thousand miles away in Storrs, Connecticut, the news came with an especially brutal epilogue. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, "Gigi Bryant always wanted to be a UConn Husky. Now, she'll be one forever," 28 Jan. 2020 Maybe someone coveting a pretty ending would have called it there, but Bryant pushed on, through an epilogue that included a serious Achilles injury, a long layoff, some really terrible Laker teams, and an undeniable attrition of his skills. Jason Gay, WSJ, "What Kobe Bryant Meant," 27 Jan. 2020 The new novel, like its predecessor, is presented as a story assembled from historical artifacts, with an epilogue that depicts a twenty-second-century academic conference about Gilead. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "Margaret Atwood Expands the World of “The Handmaid’s Tale”," 5 Sep. 2019 In many ways the true epilogue for Endgame, this was another winning entry of Holland as Peter Parker, this time dealing with young love, the loss of a father figure, and not measuring up to expectations. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, "Heat Vision's Top 10 Movies of 2019," 31 Dec. 2019 The epilogue is a rather strange final scene, presenting a different kind of death than in the first scene — not physical death but death of memory. Mary Spencer, National Review, "Philip Glass’s Akhnaten Brings Ancient Egyptian Piety to Life," 14 Dec. 2019 Save for a brief allusion in the epilogue to the strained politics of the present moment, Mr. Inskeep keeps his narrative rooted firmly in the past. Andrew R. Graybill, WSJ, "‘Imperfect Union’ Review: Mr. & Mrs. Pathfinder," 17 Jan. 2020 Daniel provides art for the central story in this issue, with March providing the epilogue, centered on the plans of a certain clown prince of crime. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "Comics Watch: 'The Batman' and a New Era of Gadgets," 8 Jan. 2020 True to its title, Coda plays like an epilogue to a classic fantasy epic like Lord of the Rings. Christian Holub, EW.com, "The best comics of 2019," 20 Dec. 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

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Epilogue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epilogue. Accessed 20 Feb. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on epilogue

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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