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 February 25, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 110

Epigram - a witty, ingenious, and pointed saying that is tersely expressed.

The term is from the Greek epigramma, meaning “an inscription,” and was formed by combining epi, meaning “upon,” and gramma, meaning “a writing,” or graphein, meaning “to write.”

Originally, it meant an inscription or epitaph,...

(The entire section contains 110 words.)

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Epigram - a witty, ingenious, and pointed saying that is tersely expressed.

The term is from the Greek epigramma, meaning “an inscription,” and was formed by combining epi, meaning “upon,” and gramma, meaning “a writing,” or graphein, meaning “to write.”

Originally, it meant an inscription or epitaph, usually in verse, on a building, tomb, or coin. Then it came to mean a short poem ending in a witty or ingenious turn of thought.

Pope included an epigram in his “Essay on Criticism”:

Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.
lines 335 – 336

see: antithesis, aphorism, epithet, proverb


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