Epigram

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Epigram'

Epigram Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    epigram n : a witty saying [syn: quip]
Epigram Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Epigram \Ep"i*gram\, n. [L. epigramma, fr. Gr. ? inscription, epigram, fr. ? to write upon, 'epi` upon + ? to write: cf. F. ['e]pigramme. See Graphic.]
  1. A short poem treating concisely and pointedly of a single thought or event. The modern epigram is so contrived as to surprise the reader with a witticism or ingenious turn of thought, and is often satirical in character. Dost thou think I care for a satire or an epigram? --Shak. Note: Epigrams were originally inscription on tombs, statues, temples, triumphal arches, etc.
  2. An effusion of wit; a bright thought tersely and sharply expressed, whether in verse or prose.
  3. The style of the epigram. Antithesis, i. e., bilateral stroke, is the soul of epigram in its later and technical signification. --B. Cracroft.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Epigram'


An epigram is a brief, clever, and usually memorable statement. Derived from the Greek: ἐπίγραμμα epigramma "inscription" from ἐπιγράφειν epigraphein "to write on – inscribe", this literary device has been employed for over two millennia.

The Greek tradition of epigrams began as poems inscribed on votive offerings at sanctuaries – including statues of athletes – and on funerary monuments, for example "Go tell it to the Spartans, passer-by ...". These original epigrams did the same job as a short prose text might have done, but in verse. Epigram became a literary genre in the Hellenistic period, probably developing out of scholarly collections of inscriptional epigrams.

Though modern epigrams are usually thought of as very short, Greek literary epigram was not always as short as later examples, and the divide between "epigram" and "elegy" is sometimes indistinct (they share a characteristic metre, elegiac couplets); all the same, the origin of the genre in inscription exerted a residual pressure to keep things concise. Many of the characteristic types of literary epigram look back to inscriptional contexts, particularly funerary epigram, which in the Hellenistic era becomes a literary exercise. Other types look instead to the new performative context which epigram acquired at this time, even as it made the move from stone to papyrus: the Greek symposium. Many "sympotic" epigrams combine sympotic and funerary elements – they tell their readers (or listeners) to drink and live for today because life is short.

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Words and phrases related to 'Epigram'


'Epigram' in famous quotation sentence


* What is an epigram A dwarfish whole, its body brevity, and wit its soul. - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

* Most of those who make collections of verse or epigram are like men eating cherries or oysters they choose out the best at first, and end by eating all. - Sbastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort

* An epigram often flashes light into regions where reason shines but dimly. - Edwin P. Whipple


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Epigram Sample Sentences in News


  • Graffiti hurts downtown
    It came as a surprise Christmas gift last December when some hooligan chose to write “F--- OFF!”âon the Brandon Chamber of Commerce building. Approximately four months after the epigram was written, using what appears to be a black marker, the message can still be viewed by anyone Read more on this news related to 'Epigram'

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