Definition of epitaph in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɛpɪtɑːf/
Pronunciation: /ˈɛpɪtaf/


1A phrase or form of words written in memory of a person who has died, especially as an inscription on a tombstone: figurative a poignant epitaph to his creative career
More example sentences
  • This might be recorded on their tombstone as an epitaph or in an obituary, commemoration portrait, or in some cases a biography.
  • All the tombstones were well carved, and some had wonderful epitaphs written on them; one, belonging to a 22 year old woman said ‘Those who seek me with all their heart shall find me where they least expect’.
  • A few words like that are sweeter than an epitaph on the grandest tombstone ever raised.
elegy, commemoration, obituary, funeral oration;
inscription, engraving, etching, legend
1.1Something by which a person, time, or event will be remembered: the story makes a sorry epitaph to a great career


Late Middle English: from Old French epitaphe, via Latin from Greek epitaphion 'funeral oration', neuter of ephitaphios 'over or at a tomb', from epi 'upon' + taphos 'tomb'.

  • Old French epitaphe came via Latin from Greek epitaphion ‘funeral oration’, from ephitaphios ‘over or at a tomb’, from epi ‘upon’ and taphos ‘tomb’.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: epi|taph

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