Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[ep-i-taf, -tahf] /ˈɛp ɪˌtæf, -ˌtɑf/
a commemorative inscription on a tomb or mortuary monument about the person buried at that site.
a brief poem or other writing in praise of a deceased person.
verb (used with object)
to commemorate in or with an epitaph.
Origin of epitaph
1350-1400; Middle English epitaphe < Latin epitaphium < Greek epitáphion over or at a tomb, equivalent to epi- epi- + táph(os) tomb + -ion noun, adj. suffix
Related forms
[ep-i-taf-ik] /ˌɛp ɪˈtæf ɪk/ (Show IPA),
epitaphist, noun
epitaphless, adjective
unepitaphed, adjective
Can be confused
epigram, epigraph, epitaph, epithet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for epitaph
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was buried at Dublin, with an epitaph recording his cowardice.

  • He closes the letter by saying, "There's a poem for you; it is rather too long for an epitaph."

    Concerning Cats Helen M. Winslow
  • But, now, the memory of it has been awakened within me by you, and I have read you its epitaph.

    A Hero of Our Time M. Y. Lermontov
  • He was also asked to write an epitaph on John Frederick Roorbach.

  • The most beautiful thing he has done—to my mind—is his epitaph.

    My Contemporaries In Fiction David Christie Murray
  • The world has long since written the word "Failure" as an epitaph for Robert Owen.

    Socialism John Spargo
  • There his epitaph may be read in fine bold lettering, still distinct.

    Memoirs Charles Godfrey Leland
  • I would have for my epitaph your smile and the whimsical irony of your comment.

    Erik Dorn

    Ben Hecht
British Dictionary definitions for epitaph


/ˈɛpɪˌtɑːf; -ˌtæf/
a commemorative inscription on a tombstone or monument
a speech or written passage composed in commemoration of a dead person
a final judgment on a person or thing
Derived Forms
epitaphic (ˌɛpɪˈtæfɪk) adjective
epitaphist, noun
Word Origin
C14: via Latin from Greek epitaphion, from epitaphios over a tomb, from epi- + taphos tomb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for epitaph

mid-14c., from Old French epitaphe (12c.) and directly from Medieval Latin epitaphium "funeral oration, eulogy," from Greek epitaphion "a funeral oration," noun use of neuter of epitaphos "of a funeral," from epi "at, over" (see epi-) + taphos "tomb, funeral rites," from PIE root *dhembh- "to bury." Among the Old English equivalents was byrgelsleoð.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for epitaph

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for epitaph

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for epitaph