• WordNet 3.6
    • n epitaph an inscription on a tombstone or monument in memory of the person buried there
    • n epitaph a summary statement of commemoration for a dead person
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Epitaph A brief writing formed as if to be inscribed on a monument, as that concerning Alexander: “Sufficit huic tumulus, cui non sufficeret orbis.”
    • Epitaph An inscription on, or at, a tomb, or a grave, in memory or commendation of the one buried there; a sepulchral inscription. "Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb."
    • v. t Epitaph To commemorate by an epitaph. "Let me be epitaphed the inventor of English hexameters."
    • v. i Epitaph 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.”"
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n epitaph An inscription on a tomb or monument in honor or memory of the dead.
    • n epitaph A brief enunciation or sentiment relating to a deceased person, in prose or verse, composed as if to be inscribed on a monument.
    • n epitaph One of the most pleasing epitaphs in general literature is that by Pope on Gay:
    • epitaph To commemorate in an epitaph.
    • epitaph To make epitaphs; use the epitaphic style.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Epitaph ep′i-taf a commemorative inscription on a tombstone or monument
    • v.t Epitaph to write an epitaph upon
    • ***


  • 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.”
  • Nicholas Butler
    Nicholas Butler
    “The epitaphs on tombstones of a great many people should read: Died at thirty, and buried at sixty.”
  • Irvin S. Cobb
    Irvin S. Cobb
    “An epitaph is a belated advertisement for a line of goods that has been discontinued.”
  • Cyril Connolly
    “Green leaves on a dead tree is our epitaph -- green leaves, dear reader, on a dead tree.”
  • Paul Eldridge
    Paul Eldridge
    “Reading the epitaphs, our only salvation lies in resurrecting the dead and burying the living.”
  • Robert Frost
    “And were an epitaph to be my story I'd have a short one ready for my own. I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover's quarrel with the world.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. épitaphe, L. epitaphium, a funeral oration, fr. Gr. , orig. an adj., over or at a tomb; 'epi` upon + tomb. Cf. Cenotaph


In literature:

The epitaph of Sir Jenkin Grout is not wholly unintelligible to the present age.
"Essays" by Ralph Waldo Emerson
The hero, if he had perished, would scarcely have been sure of his epitaph even.
"The Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Volume II" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Epitaph designed for a Monument to be erected in Lichfield Cathedral to the Rev.
"Sir Walter Scott as a Critic of Literature" by Margaret Ball
Culpable neglect, it may be added, was sometimes shown in the admission of jesting or profane epitaphs.
"The English Church in the Eighteenth Century" by Charles J. Abbey and John H. Overton
He discussed epitaphs in a perfectly light-hearted way, and I never dreamt he was so near death.
"Oscar Wilde, Volume 2 (of 2)" by Frank Harris
EPITAPH ON EROTION, six years of age.
"A Handbook for Latin Clubs" by Various
For it is the epitaph of a buried hope.
"Creative Chemistry" by Edwin E. Slosson
Season with perspective christening and postponed epitaph.
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete" by Various
This theme might be pursued at length, for the composers of epitaphs varied it with remarkable cleverness and versatility of imagination.
"History Of Egypt, Chaldæa, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 2 (of 12)" by G. Maspero
What could be more appropriate than an epitaph?
"Berry And Co." by Dornford Yates
She even spent some time in composing her own epitaph, and kept it carefully hidden away in a drawer of her dresser, under some linen.
"By the Light of the Soul" by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
It concludes with an epitaph on Margaret, dated 1549.
"The Tales Of The Heptameron, Vol. V. (of V.)" by Margaret, Queen Of Navarre
The greatest number of inscriptions are epitaphs graven on tombs.
"History Of Ancient Civilization" by Charles Seignobos
When honest Dan Loftus cited those lines from the 'Song of Songs,' did he not make her sweet epitaph?
"The House by the Church-Yard" by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
The grief of her husband was her noblest epitaph.
"Dead Man's Rock" by Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
Others hold the cartel or epitaph as on the Coscia tomb.
"Donatello" by David Lindsay, Earl of Crawford
You know what the Company's epitaph will be?
"Little Fuzzy" by Henry Beam Piper
That is the most proper epitaph for a sailor.
"Great Sea Stories" by Various
Both signified an absence of love, such a departing without being desired as serves for the epitaph of a Jewish king.
"Quisanté" by Anthony Hope
Bunny, what is an epitaph?
"Naughty Miss Bunny" by Clara Mulholland

In poetry:

That night is speeding on to greet
Your epitaphic rhyme.
Your life is but a little beat
Within the heart of Time.
"Just Think!" by Robert W Service
When, Salomon, you come to quaff
The Darker Cup with meeker face,
I, loving you at last, shall trace
Upon your tomb this epitaph:
"To E.S. Salomon" by Ambrose Bierce
Thou art the whisper in the gloom,
The hinting tone, the haunting laugh:
Thou art the adorner of my tomb,
The minstrel of mine epitaph.
"The Dark Angel" by Lionel Pigot Johnson
Outlive us all! Who else like you
Could sift the seedcorn from our chaff,
And make us with the pen we knew
Deathless at least in epitaph?
"To Holmes: On His Seventy-Fifth Birthday" by James Russell Lowell
And when I'm done,
I'd have no son
Pounce on these treasures like a vulture;
Nay, give them half
My epitaph,
And let them share in my sepulture.
"De Amicitiis" by Eugene Field
Versailles! Versailles! thou shalt not keep
Her whom this heart yet holds most dear:
In her own country she shall sleep;
Her epitaph be graven here.
"Ianthe" by Walter Savage Landor

In news:

Actor Peter O'Toole says he has decided on an epitaph for his tombstone — the text from a "Sorry, but " tag returned with a garment years ago.
An Epitaph for Self-Centered Companies.
In honor of today's "holiday" I've found some famous and funny epitaphs .
"That dude has huge balls," is often the epitaph of brave, rugged adventurers who die too young — It's probably written on Steve McQueen's tombstone.
"Don't write my epitaph yet, because I'm not going to disappear.".
" When you write my epitaph, you must say I was the loneliest person who ever lived," she told Robert Lowell in 1948.
Larry Hagman's epitaph: ' Evil does good.
William Faulkner specified how he wanted his epitaph to read: "He made the books and he died.".
Judas Priest's current Epitaph World Tour has been dubbed a "farewell" tour, which has caused many fans to believe the heavy metal legends are calling it quits entirely.
Judas Priest Epitaph Set List.
Judas Priest launched their North American portion of their Epitaph farewell tour October 12th at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Larry Hagman's epitaph: Evil does good'.
"Goodnight Saigon," the turning point of Billy Joel's ambitious new album, may well be remembered as the ultimate pop-music epitaph to the Vietnam War.
Hemingway, in his last book, writes his own sad epitaph.
For the past five years, volunteers have been transcribing epitaphs from markers in local cemeteries like Fairview as part of a national effort to preserve history.