Definition of epigraph in US English:

epigraph

noun

  • 1An inscription on a building, statue, or coin.

    • ‘The epigraph could be seen clearly on the pillars and walls.’
    engraving, wording, writing, lettering, legend, epitaph, etching, carving
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    1. 1.1 A short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme.
      • ‘To be sure, as our epigraphs suggest, this is not the first time that the issue of canonicity in the domain of law and literature has been raised.’
      • ‘As my epigraph suggests, to be ‘strange’ is to be ‘real.’’
      • ‘Why do I feel certain the first epigraph is from the past and the second is our contemporary?’
      • ‘In order to write myself out of the dilemma that I state in the epigraph of the book, I turned to the generative ‘singularities,’ ‘fictions’ of other literary voices.’
      • ‘The satirical structure and style of the novel are suggested by an epigraph from Mark Twain's travel book.’
      • ‘The voice in the first epigraph is that of a teacher helping a student with her English pronunciation.’
      • ‘Past horrors and present dreams (echoing the book's epigraph from Sassoon) buckle together at the moment of ‘observing.’’
      • ‘A secondary group of camera movement predictions that Colin makes (see the epigraph at the beginning of this section) are genre-specific and will require a different approach to evaluate.’
      • ‘The first is to be found in the epigraph from Milton's Paradise Lost on the novel's title-page.’
      • ‘I have invoked Shelley as an epigraph because he identified the dangers of hubris and vanity when desire is exhausted and over-idealized.’
      • ‘The book begins with an epigraph from Edgar Allan Poe and then spins out 23 stories connected by a thin meta-narrative: novelists stranded at a writers' retreat.’
      • ‘(Stowe also included a fragment from it as the epigraph to Chapter 37 of Uncle Tom's Cabin).’
      • ‘Now the general issue about whether rich countries should do this is a complex one; but the issue raised by one of the epigraphs with which the article starts is not.’
      • ‘The epigraph, a quotation from Dante, further obscures the atmosphere.’
      • ‘This conclusion together with the epigraph quoted at the beginning of this review establishes theoretical psychology as much more than a subdiscipline.’
      • ‘Each of the twelve poems in the third section of the book sports an epigraph from a Emerson essay.’
      • ‘Indeed, the straightforward simplicity of the first epigraph is atypical of her generally more experimental and abstract poetry.’
      • ‘The first to appear is the epigraph to the fourth chapter.’
      • ‘However, consideration of the entire passage from which the epigraph is taken suggests a subtlely different interpretation.’
      quotation, stock phrase, platitude, cliché, epithet, quote, extract, excerpt, passage, allusion, phrase
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Origin

Late 16th century (denoting the heading of a document or letter): from Greek epigraphē, from epigraphein ‘write on’.

Pronunciation

epigraph

/ˈepəˌɡraf//ˈɛpəˌɡræf/