Epitaph Definition

A commemorative inscription on a tomb or mortuary monument written to praise the deceased.

An Epitaph is a type of poem which is written for a deceased person. This type of poem is usually a statement or a memorial written in regards to a person who has recently died. Many people use this type of poem of a headstone or during a memorial service. Some people print the epitaph on a memorial card to be handed out during a memorial service or funeral.

An epitaph poem varies in length, with a typical length being between 10 and 25 lines long. The epitaph is meant to convey memory, honor, mourning, or another emotion and or statement relating to the deceased person. This poem is usually written by a friend or a family member who was close to the person who has just died and is usually written in favor and in grief for the deceased. Some people have chosen to write their own epitaph poems, though it is not a common practice for one to do so. 

Epitaph Poem Example

Walter de la Mare

Here lies a most beautiful lady,
Light of step and heart was she:
I think she was the most beautiful lady
That ever was in the West Country.
But beauty vanishes; beauty passes;
However rare, rare it be;
And when I crumble who shall remember
This lady of the West Country?

Top 5 Epitaph Poem Examples

PMPoem TitlePoetFormCategories
Everyone Has To Go Granstrom, Allan Epitaphdevotion, faith, friendship, hope,
Someone Special Yeates, Owen Epitaphfatherheart, lost, heart, lost,
Premium Member Poem Yellow Press - Bordner, Justin Epitaphbullying,
Premium Member Poem Belva Berry 1889-1905 hunter, stark Epitaphdeath,
My Billy Riley, Wayne Epitaphinspirational, memory, soldier, war,

Other Epitaph Definition

[n] an inscription on a tombstone or monument in memory of the person buried there
[n] a summary statement of commemoration for a dead person

More below...

Misc. Definitions

\Ep"i*taph\, n. [F. ['e]pitaphe, L. epitaphium a funeral oration, fr. Gr. ?, orig. an adj., over or at a tomb; 'epi` upon + ? tomb. Cf. {Cenotaph}.]
1. 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. --Shak.
2. A brief writing formed as if to be inscribed on a monument, as that concerning Alexander: ``Sufficit huic tumulus, cui non sufficeret orbis.''
\Ep"i*taph\, v. t. To commemorate by an epitaph. [R.] Let me be epitaphed the inventor of English hexameters. --G. Harvey.
\Ep"i*taph\, v. i. To write or speak after the manner of an epitaph. [R.] The common in their speeches epitaph upon him . . . ``He lived as a wolf and died as a dog.'' --Bp. Hall.

More Epitaph Links:
Link to this Epitaph definition/page: