1. An inscription on a tombstone in memory of the one buried there.
2. A brief literary piece commemorating a deceased person.
[Middle English, from Old French epitaphe, from Latin epitaphium, from Greek epitaphion, from neuter of epitaphios, funerary : epi-, epi- + taphos, tomb.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.