What is epitaph?

  • (noun): A summary statement of commemoration for a dead person.
    See also — Additional definitions below


An epitaph (from Greek ἐπιτάφιον epitaphion "a funeral oration" from ἐπί epi "at, over" and τάφος taphos "tomb") is a short text honoring a deceased person, strictly speaking that is inscribed on their tombstone or plaque, but also used figuratively. Some are specified by the dead person beforehand, others chosen by those responsible for the burial. An epitaph may be in poem verse; poets have been known to compose their own epitaphs prior to their death, as W.B. Yeats did.

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Some articles on epitaph:

Curia (wife Of Quintus Lucretius) - Epitaph
... Her husband writes in an epitaph on a large tombstone called "Laudatio Turiae" of her qualities, Why should I mention your domestic virtues, your loyalty, obedience ...
This War Is Ours - Release History - Deluxe Special Edition
... Region Date Label Via pre-order USA April 23, 2010 (2010-04-23) Epitaph Via pre-order April 24, 2010 (2010-04-24) Epitaph In stores April 27, 2010 (2010-04-27) Epitaph ...
Straight Faced - Epitaph Years
... Tonic and Kevin Norton and signed with Epitaph Records to release Conditioned, their third LP ... A fourth full-length, Pulling Teeth, was released on Epitaph in 2000 before the group disbanded some time thereafter ...
Swift's Epitaph
... "Swift's Epitaph" is a translation by Irish poet William Butler Yeats of Jonathan Swift's epitaph, which Swift wrote for himself in Latin ...
Epitaphs in Music
... In a more figurative sense, music in memory of deceased people has been composed ... Igor Stravinsky composed in 1958 Epitaphium for flute, clarinet and harp ...

More definitions of "epitaph":

  • (noun): An inscription on a tombstone or monument in memory of the person buried there.

Famous quotes containing the word epitaph:

    Will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them
    be well used, for they are the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time. After your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live.
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

    That land is like an Eagle, whose young gaze
    Feeds on the noontide beam, whose golden plume
    Floats moveless on the storm, and in the blaze
    Of sunrise gleams when Earth is wrapped in gloom;
    An epitaph of glory for the tomb
    Of murdered Europe may thy fame be made,
    Great People! as the sands shalt thou become;
    Thy growth is swift as morn, when night must fade;
    The multitudinous Earth shall sleep beneath thy shade.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

    Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore.
    Apocrypha. Ecclesiasticus, 44:14.

    The line “their name liveth for evermore” was chosen by Rudyard Kipling on behalf of the Imperial War Graves Commission as an epitaph to be used in Commonwealth War Cemeteries. Kipling had himself lost a son in the fighting.