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epigram

[ep-i-gram] /ˈɛp ɪˌgræm/
noun
1.
any witty, ingenious, or pointed saying tersely expressed.
2.
epigrammatic expression:
Oscar Wilde had a genius for epigram.
3.
a short, often satirical poem dealing concisely with a single subject and usually ending with a witty or ingenious turn of thought.
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin epigramma < Greek epígramma inscription, epigram. See epi-, -gram1
Can be confused
epigram, epigraph, epitaph, epithet.
Synonyms
1. witticism, quip, bon mot.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for epigram
  • In fairness, Nehru should be credited with one classic epigram.
  • There is epigram; but epigram is not multiplied for its own sake.
  • The difficulty, however, could not be solved by an epigram.
  • So one might say that the idea of exceptionalism is thoroughly unexceptional, if you'll pardon the epigram.
  • As reviving as an epigram.
  • There's only one flavorful epigram in the entire pastiche.
  • Like a bee or an epigram, all his sting is in his tail.
  • Faced with the central epigram, I find it both ponderous and contrived.
  • In a Greek epigram she is described as she who has given birth to.
  • The epigram by which his name is chiefly known at the present.
British Dictionary definitions for epigram

epigram

/ˈɛpɪˌɡræm/
noun
1.
a witty, often paradoxical remark, concisely expressed
2.
a short, pungent, and often satirical poem, esp one having a witty and ingenious ending
Derived Forms
epigrammatic, adjective
epigrammatically, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin epigramma, from Greek: inscription, from epigraphein to write upon, from graphein to write
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 epigram
n.

mid-15c., from Middle French épigramme, from Latin epigramma "an inscription," from Greek epigramma "an inscription, epitaph, epigram," from epigraphein "to write on, inscribe" (see epigraph). Related: Epigrammatist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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epigram in Culture

epigram definition


Any pithy, witty saying or short poem. An aphorism can serve as an epigram, if it is brief.

Note: Several authors are noted for their epigrams, including Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde. One of Wilde's epigrams is “I can resist everything except temptation.”
Note: Two other words are similar: an epigraph is usually an inscription, as on a statue; an epitaph can be such an inscription or it can be a brief literary note commemorating a dead person.
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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Word Value for epigram

12
15
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