What does epitaph mean?

Definitions for epitaphˈɛp ɪˌtæf, -ˌtɑf

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word epitaph.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. epitaph(noun)

    an inscription on a tombstone or monument in memory of the person buried there

  2. epitaph(noun)

    a summary statement of commemoration for a dead person


  1. epitaph(Noun)

    An inscription on a gravestone in memory of the deceased.

  2. epitaph(Noun)

    A poem or other short text written in memory of a deceased person.

  3. epitaph(Verb)

    To write or speak after the manner of an epitaph.

    The common in their speeches epitaph upon him "He lived as a wolf and died as a dog." uE00013225uE001 Bishop Hall.

  4. Origin: epitaphe, from epitaphium, from ἐπιτάφιος, from ἐπί + τάφος.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Epitaph(noun)

    an inscription on, or at, a tomb, or a grave, in memory or commendation of the one buried there; a sepulchral inscription

  2. Epitaph(noun)

    a brief writing formed as if to be inscribed on a monument, as that concerning Alexander: "Sufficit huic tumulus, cui non sufficeret orbis."

  3. Epitaph(verb)

    to commemorate by an epitaph

  4. Epitaph(verb)

    to write or speak after the manner of an epitaph

  5. Origin: [F. pitaphe, L. epitaphium a funeral oration, fr. Gr. , orig. an adj., over or at a tomb; 'epi` upon + tomb. Cf. Cenotaph.]


  1. Epitaph

    An epitaph is a short text honoring a deceased person, strictly speaking that is inscribed on their tombstone or plaque, but also used figuratively. Some are specified by the dead person beforehand, others chosen by those responsible for the burial. An epitaph may be in poem verse; poets have been known to compose their own epitaphs prior to their death, as William Shakespeare did. Most epitaphs are brief records of the family, and perhaps the career, of the deceased, often with an expression of love or respect - "beloved father of ..." - but others are more ambitious. From the Renaissance to the 19th century in Western culture, epitaphs for notable people became increasingly lengthy and pompous descriptions of their family origins, career, virtues and immediate family, often in Latin. However, the Laudatio Turiae, the longest known Ancient Roman epitaph exceeds almost all of these at 180 lines; it celebrates the virtues of a wife, probably of a consul. Some are quotes from holy texts, or aphorisms. One approach of many epitaphs is to 'speak' to the reader and warn them about their own mortality. A wry trick of others is to request the reader to get off their resting place, inasmuch as the reader would have to be standing on the ground above the coffin to read the inscription. Some record achievements. Nearly all note name, year or date of birth, and date of death. Many list family members and the relationship of the deceased to them.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Epitaph

    ep′i-taf, n. a commemorative inscription on a tombstone or monument.—v.t. to write an epitaph upon.—adjs. Epitaph′ian, Epitaph′ic.—n. Ep′itaphist, a writer of epitaphs. [Gr. epitaphionepi, upon, taphos, a tomb.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Epitaph

    an inscription placed on a tombstone in commemoration of the dead interred below. The natural feeling which prompts such inscriptions has manifested itself among all civilised peoples, and not a little of a nation's character may be read in them. The Greeks reserved epitaphs for their heroes, but amongst the Romans grew up the modern custom of marking the tombs of relatives with some simple inscription, many of their sepulchres being placed on the side of the public roads, a circumstance which explains the phrase, Siste, viator—Stay, traveller—found in old graveyards.

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. epitaph

    1. Postponed compliments. 2. Postmortem bull-con. 3. Qualifying for the Ananias Club.

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz


    A statement that usually lies above about the one who lies beneath.

Suggested Resources

  1. epitaph

    Song lyrics by epitaph -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by epitaph on the Lyrics.com website.


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of epitaph in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of epitaph in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Abel Evans:

    Lie heavy on him earth, hor he laid many a heavy load on thee (suggested epitaph)

  2. Abel Evans:

    Lie heavy on him earth, for he laid many a heavy load on thee (suggested epitaph)

  3. Dame Rebecca West:

    If the whole human race lay in one grave, the epitaph on its headstone might well be: "It seemed a good idea at the time."

  4. Rudyard Kipling:

    And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased, and the epitaph drear: A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East.

  5. Gregory Nunn:

    The most touching epitaph I ever encountered was on the tombstone of the printer of Edinburgh. It said simply: He kept down the cost and set the type right.

Images & Illustrations of epitaph

  1. epitaphepitaphepitaph

Translations for epitaph

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"epitaph." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 22 Feb. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/epitaph>.

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