epigram

[ep-i-gram]
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:
1400–50; late Middle English < Latin epigramma < Greek epígramma inscription, epigram. See epi-, -gram1

epigram, epigraph, epitaph, epithet.


1. witticism, quip, bon mot.
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World English Dictionary
epigram (ˈɛpɪˌɡræm)
 
n
1.  a witty, often paradoxical remark, concisely expressed
2.  a short, pungent, and often satirical poem, esp one having a witty and ingenious ending
 
[C15: from Latin epigramma, from Greek: inscription, from epigraphein to write upon, from graphein to write]
 
epigram'matic
 
adj
 
epigram'matically
 
adv

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

epigram
1530s, from Fr. épigramme, from L. epigramma, from Gk. epigramma "an inscription, epitaph, epigram," from epigraphein "to write on, inscribe" (see epigraph). Related: Epigrammatic.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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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Example sentences
For all their sprightliness, these epigrams sag-melancholy testimony that the
  realist is second to none in his illusions.
On occasion, to entertain himself and others, he wrote witty epigrams about
  various speakers.
Two of his epigrams suggest that singing was a common company experience.
His short stories, sketches, anecdotes and epigrams are triumphs of sheer
  objectivity.
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