Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An inscription on a tombstone in memory of the one buried there.
  • n. A brief literary piece commemorating a deceased person.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An inscription on a gravestone in memory of the deceased.
  • n. A poem or other short text written in memory of a deceased person.
  • v. To write or speak after the manner of an epitaph.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An inscription on, or at, a tomb, or a grave, in memory or commendation of the one buried there; a sepulchral inscription.
  • n. A brief writing formed as if to be inscribed on a monument, as that concerning Alexander: “Sufficit huic tumulus, cui non sufficeret orbis.”
  • transitive v. To commemorate by an epitaph.
  • intransitive v. To write or speak after the manner of an epitaph.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An inscription on a tomb or monument in honor or memory of the dead.
  • n. A brief enunciation or sentiment relating to a deceased person, in prose or verse, composed as if to be inscribed on a monument.
  • n. One of the most pleasing epitaphs in general literature is that by Pope on Gay:
  • To commemorate in an epitaph.
  • To make epitaphs; use the epitaphic style.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a summary statement of commemoration for a dead person
  • n. an inscription on a tombstone or monument in memory of the person buried there

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French epitaphe, from Latin epitaphium, from Greek epitaphion, from neuter of epitaphios, funerary : epi-, epi- + taphos, tomb.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French epitafe, from Latin epitaphium ("eulogy"), from Ancient Greek ἐπιτάφιος (epitaphios, "relating to a funeral"), from ἐπί (epi, "over") + τάφος (taphos, "tomb"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Epitaph for a dentist: Don't intrude on the Good Dentist, he's busy filling a cavity.

    September 10, 2010

  • I wish that you were here with me to pass the dull weekend
    I know it wouldn't come to love, my heroine pretend
    A lady stepping from the songs we love until this day
    You'd settle for an epitaph like "Walk Away, Renee"
    The sun upon the roof in winter will draw you out like a flower
    Meet you at the statue in an hour.

    (Piazza, New York catcher, by Belle and Sebastian)

    March 8, 2010

  • *raises glass*

    March 20, 2009

  • A toast to good, brave doggies everywhere. :-)

    *raises glass*

    March 20, 2009

  • It is a very good article indeed. Rather surprisingly, at least to me, it did not make me cry. (Perhaps because I recently went through a similar situation.)

    I remember the vet telling us, the first time she was diagnosed, he wouldn't give us a range of how long he thought she'd live. I persisted, "Well, a month? A year? Somewhere in between?" He said, "Maybe a year. I can tell you whatever number you want, but I can promise you only one thing: Whatever I say, she'll make a liar out of me."

    She did. She lived for two more years. :)

    March 20, 2009

  • Bloody hell! Thank you, seanahan, for making me cry. :o} I've done laugh-related crying lately with animals more or less, but that story was really a trigger. Boo hoo.

    March 20, 2009

  • Oh seanahan, that article nearly made me cry.

    March 20, 2009

  • See dyer.

    March 20, 2009

  • The saddest article I've ever read is this article about a Sports columnist's recently deceased dog. For those who aren't into sports, this article transcends sports writing.

    March 5, 2009

  • Good idea, Treeseed. I'll do that. -- However, my own personal choice in case of possible death would be: "Screw you guys, I'm going home!"

    March 3, 2009

  • Epitaph to a Dog is a poem by the English poet Lord Byron. It was written in 1808 in honor of his Newfoundland dog, Boatswain, who had just died of rabies. Check it out..it's beautiful.

    February 3, 2008