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 Tessa and Hardin's children, Emery and Auden, and their cousin Addy, who were introduced in the epilogue of the After Ever Happy book. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, "The After Movie Franchise Will Go Beyond the Books With Two New Films," 19 Apr. 2021 Gates offers no tidy conclusion but instead includes an epilogue that draws on his own personal experience with the Christian faith. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, The New York Review of Books, "A Praise House of Many Mansions," 13 Apr. 2021 Now coming in at over four hours long, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is split into six chapters and an epilogue. oregonlive, "Justice League Zack Snyder cut releases today on HBO Max | How to watch without cable, plus a look at the cast," 18 Mar. 2021 Biden denied the charges and fired back with an impassioned defense of his son, which Hunter recounted in an epilogue written as a posthumous letter to his brother, Beau. Lucien Bruggeman, ABC News, "Hunter Biden, in new memoir, offers lurid details of addiction but sidesteps some political scandals," 2 Apr. 2021 Spoilers ahead for the epilogue of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Ryan Britt, Vulture, "That Snyder Cut Epilogue, Explained," 18 Mar. 2021 Healy contrasts these joyful beginnings with Soul City’s grim epilogue: the conversion of Soul Tech I, one of the office buildings on the Soul City site, to a medium-security prison in 2000. Divya Subramanian, The New Republic, "The Lost Plan for a Black Utopian Town," 17 Mar. 2021 But one of the best shows to come out of this era was West Cork, and starting this week, the series is being re-released by Acast for wide distribution on almost any podcast platform — complete with a new epilogue, due out soon! Nicholas Quah, Vulture, "West Cork and 4 More Podcasts Worth Trying," 5 Jan. 2021 More interesting is the second half of the epilogue, which formally introduces a new superhero — but not before showing the audience an incredibly dark future. Chris Smith, BGR, "Forget the Snyder Cut and just watch this post-credits scene – it’s amazing," 19 Mar. 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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Time Traveler for epilogue

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for epilogue

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Epilogue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epilogue. Accessed 7 May. 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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