epitaph

noun ep·i·taph \ ˈe-pə-ˌtaf \

Definition of epitaph

1 :an inscription on or at a tomb or a grave in memory of the one buried there
2 :a brief statement commemorating or epitomizing a deceased person or something past

epitaphial

play \ˌe-pə-ˈta-fē-əl\ adjective

epitaphic

play \ˌe-pə-ˈta-fik\ adjective

Examples of epitaph in a Sentence

  1. The epitaph reads “In loving memory of John Gray: husband, father, soldier.”

Recent Examples of epitaph from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epitaph.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

An inscription on a tomb is an epitaph, as is, by extension, anything written as if to be inscribed on a tomb. Probably the earliest surviving epitaphs are those written on ancient Egyptian sarcophagi and coffins. In Elizabethan times, epitaphs became much more common in English. Many of the best known are literary memorials (often deliberately witty) not intended for a tomb. Benjamin Franklin’s epitaph for himself plays on his trade as a printer, hoping that he will “appear once more in a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and amended by the Author.” The 20th-century writer and wit Dorothy Parker’s suggested epitaphs include “I told you I was sick” and “If you can read this, you’re standing too close.”

Origin and Etymology of epitaph

Middle English epitaphe, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin epitaphium, from Latin, funeral oration, from Greek epitaphion, from epi- + taphos tomb, funeral


EPITAPH Defined for English Language Learners

epitaph

noun

Definition of epitaph for English Language Learners

  • : something written or said in memory of a dead person; especially : words written on a gravestone


EPITAPH Defined for Kids

epitaph

noun ep·i·taph \ ˈe-pə-ˌtaf \

Definition of epitaph for Students

:a brief statement on a tombstone in memory of a dead person


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