noun1 : a concise poem dealing pointedlyand often satirically with a singlethought or event and often endingwith an ingenious turn of thought 2 : a terse, sage, or witty and oftenparadoxical saying 3 : expressionmarked by the use of epigrams
On the wall of his studio, Jonathankept a framed print of his favoriteepigram from Benjamin Franklin: “Little strokes fell great oaks.”
“But this is a work that tends to relyon pithy epigrams, rather than build a sturdy narrative arc about a youngartist‘s awakening and an old artist‘s raging against the dying of the light.” — Kerry Reid, Chicago Tribune, February 13, 2015
Did you know?
Ancient Greeks and Romans usedthe word epigramma (from Greekepigraphein, meaning “to write on”) to refer to a concise, witty, and oftensatirical verse. The Roman poetMartial (who published eleven booksof these epigrammata, or epigrams, between the years 86 and 98 C.E.) was a master of the form: “You puffthe poets of other days, / the livingyou deplore. / Spare me the accolade: your praise / Is not worthdying for.” English speakers adoptedthe “verse” sense of the word whenwe first used epigram for a concisepoem dealing pointedly and oftensatirically with a single thought or event in the 15th century. In the late18th century, we began usingepigram for concise, witty sayings, even if they didn‘t rhyme.