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See more synonyms for elegy on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural el·e·gies.
  1. a mournful, melancholy, or plaintive poem, especially a funeral song or a lament for the dead.
  2. a poem written in elegiac meter.
  3. a sad or mournful musical composition.
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Origin of elegy

1505–15; (< Middle French) < Latin elegīa < Greek elegeía, orig. neuter plural of elegeîos elegiac, equivalent to éleg(os) a lament + -eios adj. suffix
Can be confusedelegy eulogy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

threnody, knell, requiem, lament, plaint

Examples from the Web for elegy

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British Dictionary definitions for elegy


noun plural -gies
  1. a mournful or plaintive poem or song, esp a lament for the dead
  2. poetry or a poem written in elegiac couplets or stanzas
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Word Origin

C16: via French and Latin from Greek elegeia, from elegos lament sung to flute accompaniment


Avoid confusion with eulogy
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 elegy


1510s, from Middle French elegie, from Latin elegia, from Greek elegeia ode "an elegaic song," from elegeia, fem. of elegeios "elegaic," from elegos "poem or song of lament," perhaps from a Phrygian word.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

elegy in Culture



A form of poetry that mourns the loss of someone who has died or something that has deteriorated. A notable example is the “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” by Thomas Gray. (Compare eulogy.)

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.