[ 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 formsep·i·taph·ic [ep-i-taf-ik] /ˌɛp ɪˈtæf ɪk/, adjectiveep·i·taph·ist, nounep·i·taph·less, adjectiveun·ep·i·taphed, adjective
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 epitaphic

  • The word has no celestial signification; yet the history of its epitaphic use is curious enough.

  • If the epitaphic form gave added novelty I must confess that the idea was suggested to me by the Greek Anthology.

    Toward the Gulf|Edgar Lee Masters

British Dictionary definitions for epitaphic


/ (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 Formsepitaphic (ˌɛpɪˈtæfɪk), adjectiveepitaphist, noun

Word Origin for epitaph

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

Word Origin and History for epitaphic



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