epigraph

[ep-i-graf, -grahf]
noun
1.
an inscription, especially on a building, statue, or the like.
2.
an apposite quotation at the beginning of a book, chapter, etc.

Origin:
1615–25; < Greek epigraphḗ inscription. See epi-, -graph

epigram, epigraph, epitaph, epithet.
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World English Dictionary
epigraph (ˈɛpɪˌɡrɑːf, -ˌɡræf)
 
n
1.  a quotation at the beginning of a book, chapter, etc, suggesting its theme
2.  an inscription on a monument or building
 
[C17: from Greek epigraphē; see epigram]
 
epigraphic
 
adj
 
epi'graphical
 
adj
 
epi'graphically
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

epigraph
1624, from Gk. epigraphe "an inscription," from epigraphein "to write on," from epi- "on" + graphein "write." Sense of "motto; short, pithy sentence at the head of a book or chapter" first recorded in Eng. 1844.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Each starts from an epigraph and then meditates on each of the substantive words therein.
The verse spoke for itself but its epigraph was equally forthcoming.
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