Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An inscription, as on a statue or building.
  • n. A motto or quotation, as at the beginning of a literary composition, setting forth a theme.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an inscription, especially one on a building etc
  • n. a literary quotation placed at the beginning of a book etc
  • n. (of a function) the set of all points lying on or above its graph

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any inscription set upon a building; especially, one which has to do with the building itself, its founding or dedication.
  • n. A citation from some author, or a sentence framed for the purpose, placed at the beginning of a work or of its separate divisions; a motto.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To inscribe an epigraph on.
  • n. An inscription cut or impressed on stone, metal, or other permanent material, as distinguished from a writing in manuscript, etc.; specifically, in archaeology, a terse inscription on a building, tomb, monument, or statue, denoting its use or appropriation, and sometimes incorporated in its scheme of ornamentation.
  • n. A superscription or title at the beginning of a book, a treatise, or a part of a book.
  • n. In lit., a citation from some author, or a sentence framed for the purpose, placed at the commencement of a work or of one of its separate divisions; a motto.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a quotation at the beginning of some piece of writing
  • n. an engraved inscription

Etymologies

Greek epigraphē, from epigraphein, to write on; see epigram.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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