An epigram is a short, clever remark. One of Oscar Wilde's many memorable epigrams is "I can resist everything but temptation."

Epigram comes from the Latin word epigramma, which means "an inscription." If you've ever seen an inscription on, say, the back of a watch, you know the writing has to be brief. It won't surprise you, then, that epigrams are very short poems, sayings, or famous quotations, like Benjamin Franklin's "Little strokes fell great oaks," a memorable reminder to keep working toward big goals or to pay attention to little details, the opposite of an epigram from our era: "Don't sweat the small stuff."

Definitions of epigram
  1. noun
    a witty saying
    synonyms: quip
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    type of:
    expression, locution, saying
    a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations
  2. noun
    a short, witty, and often satirical poem focusing on a single topic or observation
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    type of:
    poem, verse form
    a composition written in metrical feet forming rhythmical lines
Commonly confused words

epigram / epigraph

An epigram is a little poem or clever statement, but an epigraph is a specific kind of epigram: a witty statement that's inscribed somewhere, such as on a building or at the beginning of a chapter or book.

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