As you read and explore books more, you’ll come across various different methods writers use to express their ideas and thoughts.

Two of these are Epigrams and Epithets.

While quite different these two have a few things in common. They are both short, sometimes rhyme, and usually refer to only one thing or person.

What is an Epigram?

An Epigram is short and concise passage which conveys a lot of meaning. This meaning is usually satirical, funny or very poignant.

Epigrams normally take the form of a poem. They have been created by some of the greatest writers in the English language including Blake, Shakespeare, Wilde and John Donne.

An epigrammatist is a person who composes an epigram.

Here are some fun examples of Epigrams:


Is dandy,

But liquor

Is quicker

Ogden Nash

Here’s my wife

Here let her lie!

Now she’s at rest

And so am I.

John Dryden

What are Epigrams and Epithets in English?
William Shakespeare 1609

What is an Epithet?

An Epithet is a short, descriptive term or group of words used to characterize someone. They often rhyme, and are often used on grave tombstones.

They emphasize the characters of the person or thing they are describing.

Epithets can take on many different forms and usages. See Grammar About for more examples.

Here are some examples of Epithets:

Man’s best friend – a term used to describe a dog and its loyalty and devotion.

The King – is the term often used to Elvis due to his huge impact on pop culture.

Daddy Longlegs – the nickname for small spiders who have extremely long, thin legs.


What are Epigrams and Epithets in English?
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