Epigrams 101

While spinning through my Tumblr page this morning, I came across the following photo:tumblr_mjlwc7qSJw1rnvzfwo1_500

Thank you, Amanda Patterson

I love this, but aren’t these just quotes???  Ummm, apparently not!  They are Epigrams.

What is an Epigram?

An epigram is a brief, interesting, memorable, and sometimes surprising or satirical statement.  Or more eloquently:

What is an Epigram?  A dwarfish whole;

Its body brevity, and wit its soul.

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I am hoping that this epigram never passes through the lips of my husband after I pass:

Here lies my wife: here let her lie!

Now she’s at rest – and so am I.

— John Dryden

According to Hypertexts.com, here are the Top Ten Epigrams of ALL Time (that’s a lot to live up to!)

The Top Ten Epigrams of All Time

In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.—Albert Camus

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.—Eleanor Roosevelt

If you can’t be a good example, you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.—Catherine the Great

If life were fair, Elvis would be alive and his impersonators would be dead.—Johnny Carson

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.—Oscar Wilde

To err is human, but it feels divine.—Mae West

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.—Mohandas Gandhi

For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.—Virginia Woolf

I’m not offended by dumb blonde jokes because I’m not dumb, and also I’m not blonde.—Dolly Parton

He does not believe, who does not live according to his belief.—Sigmund Freud



4 thoughts on “Epigrams 101

  1. Full disclosure: I love this topic! If you are exposing your students to these? You totally rock … Apophthegm, adage, dictum, epigram, aphorism, epithet, euphemism. The nuance yet subtle is rather profound between each. Oh, let us not forget bromide as well, at least in a literary sense 🙂

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