[ep-i-graf, -grahf]


an inscription, especially on a building, statue, or the like.
an apposite quotation at the beginning of a book, chapter, etc.

Nearby words

  1. epigoni,
  2. epigonus,
  3. epigram,
  4. epigrammatic,
  5. epigrammatize,
  6. epigraphic,
  7. epigraphy,
  8. epigynous,
  9. epigynum,
  10. epikeratophakia

Origin of epigraph

First recorded in 1615–25, epigraph is from the Greek word epigraphḗ inscription. See epi-, -graph

Can be confusedepigram epigraph epitaph epithet

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for epigraph

British Dictionary definitions for epigraph



a quotation at the beginning of a book, chapter, etc, suggesting its theme
an inscription on a monument or building
Derived Formsepigraphic (ˌɛpɪˈɡræfɪk) or epigraphical, adjectiveepigraphically, adverb

Word Origin for epigraph

C17: from Greek epigraphē; see epigram

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 epigraph



1620s, "inscription on a building, statue, etc.," from Greek epigraphe "an inscription," from epigraphein "to write on," from epi "on" (see epi-) + graphein "to write" (see -graphy). Sense of "motto; short, pithy sentence at the head of a book or chapter" first recorded in English 1844.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper