Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A poem composed in elegiac couplets.
  • noun A poem or song composed especially as a lament for a deceased person.
  • noun Something resembling such a poem or song.
  • noun Music A composition that is melancholy or pensive in tone.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In classical poetry, a poem written in elegiac verse.
  • noun A mournful or plaintive poem; a poem or song expressive of sorrow and lamentation; a dirge; a funeral song.
  • noun Any serious poem pervaded by a tone of melancholy, whether grief is actually expressed or not: as, Gray's “Elegy in a Country Churchyard.”
  • noun In music, a sad or funeral composition, vocal or instrumental, whether actually commemorative or not; a dirge.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A mournful or plaintive poem; a funereal song; a poem of lamentation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A mournful or plaintive poem; a funeral song; a poem of lamentation.

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

  • noun a mournful poem; a lament for the dead

Etymologies

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

[French élégie, from Latin elegīa, from Greek elegeia, from pl. of elegeion, elegiac distich, from elegos, song, mournful song.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1514, from Middle French elegie, from Latin elegia, from Ancient Greek ἐλεγεία ᾠδή ("an elegaic song"), from ἐλεγεία, feminine of ἐλεγεῖος ("elegaic"), from ἔλεγος ("poem or song of lament"), perhaps from Phrygian.

Examples

Comments

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  • "Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd Muse,

    The place of fame and elegy supply:

    And many a holy text around she strews,

    That teach the rustic moralist to die."

    -- Thomas Gray, "Elegy Written in a Country Church-yard

    June 18, 2009

  • ELEGY/EULOGY

    A speech praising the deceased person at a funeral is a eulogy. An elegy is a poetic form, usually with a sad or thoughtful subject. . . .

    http://wsu.edu/~brians/errors/elegy.html

    January 1, 2011