top of page
The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce epigraph (audio)

Dictionary definition of epigraph

A quote or excerpt that is placed at the beginning of a literary work, such as a novel, poem, or essay.
"The epigraph in the novel was a quote that encapsulated the theme of the story."

Detailed meaning of epigraph

The purpose of an epigraph is to set the tone or theme of the work, or to provide context for the reader. An epigraph can also be used to pay homage to a previous work or author. Epigraphs are often used to add a layer of meaning to a work, and can be used to make connections between different works or to comment on the work itself. They can be from literature, poetry, or other sources, and can be in the form of a quote, a poem, a song, or a piece of prose.

Example sentences containing epigraph

1. The novel opened with a thought-provoking epigraph about time.
2. The epigraph set the tone for the entire collection of poems.
3. Hemingway's novel featured an epigraph from Ecclesiastes.
4. The essay began with a powerful epigraph by a renowned philosopher.
5. The epigraph hinted at the novel's theme of identity and loss.
6. The playwright used an epigraph to introduce the play's central idea.

History and etymology of epigraph

The noun 'epigraph' has its origins in ancient Greek. It is formed by combining the Greek words 'epi,' meaning 'on' or 'above,' and 'grapho,' which means 'to write' or 'to inscribe.' In essence, an epigraph is something that is written or inscribed above, typically at the beginning of a literary work. Epigraphs often serve to set the tone, provide context, or offer insight into the themes and ideas explored in the text that follows. The etymology of 'epigraph' underscores its function as a literary inscription or quotation positioned prominently at the outset of a piece of writing, inviting readers to delve into the work with a deeper understanding or perspective.

Quiz: Find the meaning of epigraph

Try Again!


Further usage examples of epigraph

1. The scientist prefaced her research paper with a relevant epigraph.
2. The epigraph from a famous speech resonated with the readers.
3. The author selected a Shakespearean epigraph for the tragedy.
4. The epigraph captured the essence of the historical novel.
5. The epigraph at the beginning of the novel was a poignant quote about love and loss.
6. She chose an inspiring epigraph from Gandhi to open her autobiography.
7. The epigraph on the monument was a tribute to the fallen soldiers.
8. His thesis began with an epigraph that summarized the essence of his research.
9. The epigraph in the book was actually a line of poetry from the 18th century.
10. The author used an epigraph from Shakespeare to set the tone for the historical fiction.
11. The epigraph etched into the statue's base gave insight into the figure's historical significance.
12. He selected a thought-provoking epigraph from Einstein for his scientific paper.
13. The epigraph at the entrance of the library was a quote about the power of knowledge.
14. The editor suggested including an epigraph to provide readers with context for the story.
15. The students were asked to interpret the significance of the epigraph in relation to the novel's themes.
16. Each chapter in the self-help book started with an epigraph to motivate the reader.
17. The epigraph on her gravestone was a testament to her lifelong dedication to charity.
18. The author's choice of an epigraph from ancient mythology hinted at the epic journey within the pages.
19. The epigraph was written in Latin, adding an air of scholarly gravitas to the academic text.



inscription, conclusion, epilogue, ending


Literary and Artistic Elements, Words and Language, Writing and Composing

bottom of page