[el-i-jahy-uh k, -ak, ih-lee-jee-ak]
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adjective Also el·e·gi·a·cal.
  1. used in, suitable for, or resembling an elegy.
  2. expressing sorrow or lamentation: elegiac strains.
  3. Classical Prosody. noting a distich or couplet the first line of which is a dactylic hexameter and the second a pentameter, or a verse differing from the hexameter by suppression of the arsis or metrically unaccented part of the third and the sixth foot.
  1. an elegiac or distich verse.
  2. a poem in such distichs or verses.

Origin of elegiac

1575–85; (< Middle French) < Latin elegīacus < Greek elegeiakós. See elegy, -ac
Related formsel·e·gi·a·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for elegiac

funereal, melancholy, sorrowful, mournful, sad, doleful

Examples from the Web for elegiac

Contemporary Examples of elegiac

Historical Examples of elegiac

British Dictionary definitions for elegiac


  1. resembling, characteristic of, relating to, or appropriate to an elegy
  2. lamenting; mournful; plaintive
  3. denoting or written in elegiac couplets or elegiac stanzas
  1. (often plural) an elegiac couplet or stanza
Derived Formselegiacally, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for elegiac

1580s, from Middle French élégiaque, from Latin elegiacus, from Greek elegeiakos, from eleigeia (see elegy). Related: Elegiacally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper