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 Floyd died as a police officer planted a knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes in a violent arrest that is all-too representative of African American life, the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a eulogy. NBC News, "Protesters face two deadly pandemics, Buffalo police suspended and small businesses suffer," 5 June 2020 LaVette sings it like a premature eulogy, its pain smashing to bits any hopes of reunion or reconciliation. Pablo Gorondi, Star Tribune, "Review: Bettye LaVette's 'Blackbirds' celebrates Black women," 27 Aug. 2020 When Jobs died in 2011 from pancreatic cancer, his sister Mona Simpson spoke about his last words as part of her eulogy. Katie Landeck, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Commentary on wealth is falsely labeled as Steve Jobs' last words," 8 Nov. 2015 One of Garcia's favorite shots in the book is of Johnson on his plane writing the eulogy for his father, Canadian professional wrestler Rocky Johnson, who died in January at the age of 75. Julie Jordan,, "Dwayne Johnson Opens Up His Life to Fans in Hiram Garcia's New Photo Book: The Rock — Through the Lens," 8 Sep. 2020 Speaking to undecideds and the unenthused, Obama echoed his eulogy this month of the late civil rights icon John Lewis. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Obama paints dark future if Americans choose Trump and not Biden in November," 19 Aug. 2020 Professional photographers aren’t ready to write the eulogy yet. Andrea Sachs, Washington Post, "Should asking a stranger to take your photo go the way of the daguerreotype?," 3 Aug. 2020 Obama’s recent eulogy for John Lewis offered a striking tribute to the former representative and American founder. Kate Cray, The Atlantic, "The Books Briefing: The Legacy of a Political Speech," 21 Aug. 2020 His surprise comments came during his eulogy at the funeral of the late civil rights leader and Georgia Rep. John Lewis. Julie Pace,, "Barack Obama, in scathing Trump rebuke, warns democracy on the line," 19 Aug. 2020

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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Last Updated

11 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Eulogy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 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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