[ ep-uh-foh-nee-muh ]
/ ˌɛp ə foʊˈni mə /
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noun, plural ep·i·pho·ne·mas, ep·i·pho·ne·mae [ep-uh-foh-nee-mee]. /ˌɛp ə foʊˈni mi/. Rhetoric.

a sentence that is an exclamation, a general or striking comment, or a succinct summary of what has previously been said.



Did you ever collect all those state quarters? Put them to good use on this quiz about curious state monikers and the facts around them.
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Mississippi’s nickname comes from the magnificent trees that grow there. What is it?

Origin of epiphonema

1570–80; <Latin epiphōnēma exclamation <Greek epiphṓnēma.See epi-, phoneme
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does epiphonema mean?

An epiphonema is an exclamatory or general statement, especially one that briefly summarizes what has just been said.

Epiphonemas can be used to add emphasis or drama to the end of a discussion or argument by restating what was said but in a shorter, more succinct way. An epiphonema can be thought of as somewhat like “the moral of the story.”

Example: After telling us about all of the old friends he ran into over vacation, John concluded his story with the epiphonema, “Oh, what a small world we live in!”

Where does epiphonema come from?

Epiphonema comes from the Greek epiphṓnēma, from the roots epi- (a prefix that can mean “after”) and phṓnēma (meaning “sound”). Epiphonema was first recorded in the 1570s.

Epiphonema is most often used in the context of rhetoric (the study of how to use language effectively). So, while you may not hear the term epiphonema used in everyday conversation, epiphonemas (or epiphonemae) themselves are used all the time, especially when someone is really trying to make a point. An epiphonema is a lot like a hashtag that wraps up what has just been said.

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What is the plural form of epiphonema?

  • epiphonemas
  • epiphonemae

(Note: Words from Greek and Latin that end in -a may continue to use the Latin plural ending -ae, as in vertebrae. Sometimes these borrowed words have also adopted the English language rule of adding -s to make a plural form. Both of these plural forms are correct, but avoid mixing them. Pick one plural form and use it consistently.)

What are some words that share a root or word element with epiphonema?

What are some words that often get used in discussing epiphonema?

What are some words epiphonema may be commonly confused with?

How is epiphonema used in real life?

There are certain contexts in which using epiphonemas might be more common. A philosopher might use an epiphonema to briefly summarize a complicated position. Likewise, a lawyer might use an epiphonema to emphasize their closing argument.



Epiphonema was featured as the Word of the Day!

Try using epiphonema!

You’ve just told a story about shopping for a car. Which of the following statements could be used as an epiphonema to conclude your story?

A. The end.
B. And then I found five bucks.
C. I test drove 20 cars and of course I ended up buying the first one I looked at!
D. Once upon a time.

Example sentences from the Web for epiphonema

  • It has no passage quite up to the Invocation—Epiphonema, to give it the technical term—of the later poem.

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