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[el-i-jee] /ˈɛl ɪ dʒi/
noun, plural elegies.
a mournful, melancholy, or plaintive poem, especially a funeral song or a lament for the dead.
a poem written in elegiac meter.
a sad or mournful musical composition.
Origin of elegy
1505-15; (< Middle French) < Latin elegīa < Greek elegeía, orig. neuter plural of elegeîos elegiac, equivalent to éleg(os) a lament + -eios adj. suffix
Can be confused
elegy, eulogy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for elegy
  • It's an elegy to the loss of individuality.
  • His elegy on Oakes reaches a length of over four hundred lines.
  • Murray's smart novel, set in a Dublin boys' school, is an elegy to lost youth.
  • Their dancing was both celebration and elegy.
  • In the last few days, he has been composing an elegy about the Haiti earthquake.
  • After much on this, he returns to the kinds-examining and dismissing objections to pastoral, elegy and what not.
  • The first major book on energy economics was an elegy to energy our friend.
  • And yet there is a liveliness to her poem-part elegy, part war memorial-that prevents it from becoming so.
  • At the same time the story ends up being this elegy for this city that has been destroyed.
  • The book and exhibition make an elegy for the little hut, a respectful acknowledgment of its service in times of need.
British Dictionary definitions for elegy


noun (pl) -gies
a mournful or plaintive poem or song, esp a lament for the dead
poetry or a poem written in elegiac couplets or stanzas
Word Origin
C16: via French and Latin from Greek elegeia, from elegos lament sung to flute accompaniment
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for elegy

1510s, from Middle French elegie, from Latin elegia, from Greek elegeia ode "an elegaic song," from elegeia, fem. of elegeios "elegaic," from elegos "poem or song of lament," perhaps from a Phrygian word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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elegy in Culture
elegy [(el-uh-jee)]

A form of poetry that mourns the loss of someone who has died or something that has deteriorated. A notable example is the “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” by Thomas Gray. (Compare eulogy.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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