ep·​i·​logue ˈe-pə-ˌlȯg How to pronounce epilogue (audio)
variants or less commonly epilog
: a concluding section that rounds out the design of a literary work
: 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
: the final scene of a play that comments on or summarizes the main action
: 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 There were also versions of the movie that featured a bigger role for Alyssa’s ghost, but the late addition of a more heartening epilogue expanded on the idea of Ben potentially moving on with Rosario Dawson’s Gabbie and her son Travis (Chase Dillon), who dealt with their own recent loss. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Aug. 2023 Yes, the epilogue does introduce us to Fontaine’s counterpart, Tyrone, in Los Angeles. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Aug. 2023 The final section, on the more recent past, proceeds more chronologically, though the chapters are still thematic; the 21st century is left for the epilogue. Emily Tamkin, Washington Post, 17 July 2023 Indeed, Hans does have secrets that are meted out throughout the book, though the most consequential is kept until the epilogue. Cory Oldweiler, BostonGlobe.com, 15 June 2023 The opening scene, an epilogue that sets the unhinged tone, is an example. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 24 July 2023 That is until Carlisle decided to write an epilogue. Christopher Muther, BostonGlobe.com, 13 July 2023 One critical character in King’s life is cryptically introduced late in the play, then disappears without explanation, and the show concludes with an awkward epilogue where the actors — speaking as themselves not their characters — remind the audience of King’s accomplishments. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 June 2023 The engrossing book ends with a melancholic epilogue, on the history and meaning of borsch. Paul Brady, Travel + Leisure, 15 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'epilogue.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near epilogue

Cite this Entry

“Epilogue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epilogue. Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


variants also epilog
: a final section that brings to an end and summarizes or comments on the action or characters of a story
: a speech often in verse addressed to the audience by an actor at the end of a play
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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