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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce epitaph (audio)

Dictionary definition of epitaph

A short statement, inscription or poem written in memory of a person who has died, usually on a tombstone or monument.
"The epitaph on the plaque was a line from the deceased's favorite song."

Detailed meaning of epitaph

Epitaphs are often written in verse and traditionally include the person's name, date of birth and date of death. They are meant to be a lasting tribute to the person's memory, and often reflect the person's life, personality or values.

Epitaphs can also be used in a metaphorical sense, for example to describe the lasting impact of a person or event, or as a literary device to convey meaning or symbolism.

Epitaphs can be simple and straightforward or poetic and elaborate, and can be written in any language, but usually they are written in Latin or the language of the country they are located. They can be found in cemeteries, graveyards, columbariums, mausoleums, and other places of final rest. They can also be found on other types of memorials, such as statues, plaques, or historical markers.

Example sentences containing epitaph

1. Her epitaph, etched in stone, spoke of a life well-lived and deeply loved.
2. Crafting a meaningful epitaph is an art that celebrates a singular journey.
3. The epitaph on the hero's monument honored sacrifice and valor.
4. Epitaphs offer solace and remembrance for those who have passed.
5. Reading the epitaphs in the old cemetery revealed stories of bygone eras.
6. The epitaph on her tombstone captured the essence of her spirit.

History and etymology of epitaph

The noun 'epitaph' has its origins in Greek, specifically from the word 'epitaphion,' which is a combination of 'epi,' meaning 'on' or 'at,' and 'taphos,' meaning 'tomb' or 'grave.' 'Epitaph' refers to a short statement, inscription, or poem written in memory of a person who has died, typically found on a tombstone or monument. The term's etymology aptly reflects its function, as it signifies something written 'on' or 'at' a grave to honor and remember the deceased. 'Epitaph' carries with it the weight of remembrance and tribute, encapsulating the essence of memorializing the departed through written words.

Quiz: Find the meaning of epitaph

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Further usage examples of epitaph

1. Epitaphs on historical figures' tombs provide insights into their legacies.
2. Writing a heartfelt epitaph is a sacred tribute to a cherished soul.
3. The epitaph's wisdom resonated with all who visited the gravesite.
4. Epitaphs distill a lifetime into a few words, preserving memories.
5. The epitaph on the war memorial pays tribute to sacrifices made.
6. Epitaphs convey the enduring impact of a life that has touched many.
7. The epitaph's eloquence brought comfort to grieving hearts.
8. Epitaphs, like poems, offer solace and reflection in times of loss.
9. Crafting a meaningful epitaph is a profound act of remembrance.
10. Epitaphs, etched in stone, ensure that memories persist through time.
11. The epitaph on the veteran's memorial saluted bravery and service.
12. Epitaphs serve as lasting tributes to the uniqueness of each life.
13. The epitaph's words resonated with the hearts of all who knew him.
14. An epitaph captures a person's essence, reminding us of their legacy.
15. His epitaph read “Loving Father and Faithful Friend,” a simple tribute to his character.
16. The poet's epitaph was a line from one of her most famous works.
17. They visited the cemetery and read the epitaphs on the ancient tombstones.
18. The epitaph on the soldier's grave acknowledged his bravery and sacrifice.
19. The writer spent a long time considering what epitaph would be suitable for the character's grave in his novel.
20. The epitaph was weathered, but you could still make out the words “Forever in our Hearts”.
21. The historian was researching epitaphs from the 18th century for her new book.
22. His humorous epitaph brought smiles to those who knew his witty personality.
23. The family chose a poignant epitaph that encapsulated the essence of their grandmother’s spirit.
24. The epitaph on the musician’s tombstone included musical notes from his most famous composition.
25. Visitors often leave flowers at the famous author’s grave, paying respect to the touching epitaph.
26. The epitaph was inscribed in Latin, reflecting the scholar’s love for classical languages.
27. She wanted her epitaph to be an inspirational quote that would encourage others to live fully.
28. The tombstone had a simple epitaph followed by the names of family members buried alongside.
29. Some epitaphs are elaborate and poetic, while others are brief and to the point.



inscription, birth notice, christening, baptism


SAT 16 (Scholastic Assessment Test), Nuance and Precision, Life Stages and Mortality

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