eu·​lo·​gy | \ ˈyü-lə-jē How to pronounce eulogy (audio) \
plural eulogies

Definition of eulogy

1 : a commendatory oration or writing especially in honor of one deceased she delivered the eulogy at his funeral
2 : high praise

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Other Words from eulogy

eulogistic \ ˌyü-​lə-​ˈji-​stik How to pronounce eulogistic (audio) \ adjective
eulogistically \ ˌyü-​lə-​ˈji-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce eulogistically (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for eulogy

encomium, eulogy, panegyric, tribute, citation mean a formal expression of praise. encomium implies enthusiasm and warmth in praising a person or a thing. received encomiums from literary critics eulogy applies to a prepared speech or writing extolling the virtues and services of a person. delivered the eulogy at the funeral service panegyric suggests an elaborate often poetic compliment. her lyrical memoir was a panegyric to her mentor tribute implies deeply felt praise conveyed either through words or through a significant act. the concert was a musical tribute to the early jazz masters citation applies to the formal praise of a person offered in a military dispatch or in awarding an honorary degree. earned a citation for bravery

Elegy vs. Eulogy

Both elegy and eulogy may be used about writing or speech in remembrance of a person who has passed away, and this semantic overlap creates the potential for confusion. Elegy (which may be traced to the Greek word elegos, “song of mourning”) commonly refers to a song or poem lamenting one who is dead; the word may also refer somewhat figuratively to a nostalgic poem, or to a kind of musical composition. While eulogy is also commonly found referring to words about the deceased, its basic meaning, both in English and in the Greek language from which it was borrowed, is “praise.” Formed from the Greek roots eu “good” and logos “speech,” a eulogy is an encomium given for one who is either living or dead. If you are praising your partner’s unsurpassed beauty or commending the virtues of the deceased at a funeral, you are delivering a eulogy; if you are composing a lamenting reminiscence about a person who has long since passed, you are writing an elegy.

Eulogies Aren't Only for Funerals

With its -logy ending, eulogy means literally something like "good speech". We are told to speak only good of the dead, but a eulogist actually makes a speech in the dead person's honor--or often instead for someone living, who might actually be there in the audience. The most famous eulogies include Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Pericles' funeral oration for the Athenian warriors; but these are only two of the many great eulogies, which continue to be delivered not only at funerals and memorial services but at retirement parties, anniversary parties, and birthday parties.

Examples of eulogy in a Sentence

He delivered a moving eulogy at his father's funeral. several eulogies were given at the special assembly marking the retirement of the company's longtime president
Recent Examples on the Web Stephen Fredman, a fellow Notre Dame professor and friend of the family, was there for the eulogy. Ben Terris, Washington Post, "How does Pete Buttigieg feel?," 2 Feb. 2020 The eulogies were as much about the police as about him. Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, "The brothers shared a bunk bed growing up in Brooklyn.," 24 Jan. 2020 Stern’s was a life uncontainable by one eulogy; memories reportedly were shared by Stern’s successor Adam Silver, by NBA greats on the sidelines (Pat Riley) and the court (Magic Johnson), and by Stern’s son Eric. Tara Sullivan,, "His faith in WNBA made David Stern a champion for women’s sports," 22 Jan. 2020 Jim Freeman was Mandy's high school basketball coach and gave the eulogy at her memorial service, attended by nearly a thousand people. Peter Van Sant, CBS News, "Mandy Stavik killing: How a community came together to help solve teen's 1989 murder," 30 Nov. 2019 Renowned author, Georgetown University professor and Detroit native Dr. Michael Eric Dyson will give the formal eulogy. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Watch live: Funeral for former U.S. Rep. John Conyers," 4 Nov. 2019 Reverend Michael Pfleger, who gave the eulogy at Tyshawn’s funeral, tells TIME. Josiah Bates, Time, "Four Years After 9-Year-Old Tyshawn Lee Was Shot and Killed in a 'Targeted Execution,' Two Men Face Murder Charges. Here’s What To Know About the Trial," 23 Sep. 2019 The Last Black Man in San Francisco, the feature from childhood friends Joe Talbot and Jimmie Fails, acts simultaneously as a love letter and eulogy to its eponymous city. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Last Black Man in San Francisco' Filmmakers — and Childhood Friends — Reflect on Making First Feature," 2 Jan. 2020 Weaving together vignettes from the sisters' adult lives and their shared childhood, lending scenes of youth a distinctly warm glow, Gerwig's Little Women is a celebration and a eulogy in one. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to Watch in Theaters Over Christmas," 23 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'eulogy.' 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 eulogy

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for eulogy

Middle English euloge, from Medieval Latin eulogium, from Greek eulogia praise, from eu- + -logia -logy

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Time Traveler for eulogy

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

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Statistics for eulogy

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Eulogy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for eulogy


How to pronounce eulogy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of eulogy

: a speech that praises someone who has died

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