Guide to Literary Terms

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What is the definition of epigram?

The definition of epigram is a concise and witty statement or poem in which a single subject is addressed, often ending with an unexpected twist.

Epigram

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Last Updated on September 12, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 85

An epigram is a concise and witty statement or poem in which a single subject is addressed, often ending with an unexpected twist. 

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Epigram originates from the Greek word epigramma, from epigraphein, meaning “to inscribe,” composed of epi (“upon”) and graphein (“to write”).

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Consider Sir Henry Wotton’s (1568–1639) epigrammatic couplet “Upon the death of Sir Albert Morton’s Wife”:

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Latest answer posted August 28, 2011, 10:55 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

He first deceas’d: She for a little tri’d

To live without Him: lik’d it not, and di’d.

see: antithesis, aphorism, epithet, proverb

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