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Definition: witty, pithy (as pertaining to a reply or description).

Pronunciation: eh-peh-gruh-mattick


“Epigram” is the noun from which this adjective is derived. It’s credited as a Latin word though its original linguistic inspiration is from the Greek term “epigraphien”, to write (the stem, epi- , means on, at, besides, or after). In Latin, “epigramma” means “to mark the surface of”; in essence, “to write”.


Why this word?

Talk about five dollar terms!


Ahh, just listen to that; why wouldn’t someone pick this word? It’s like five pompous syllables stolen straight out of Victorian theatre. “Epigrammatic” is a flowing, educated-sounding fancy pants way of describing someone or something as being witty (usually along with a quip or quick retort of special magnificence. At least, that’s what it feels like to me.)

While one of its synonyms, “pithy”, relatively conveys the same sort of highbrow sensation of speech — though with an added feeling of severity — “epigrammatic” has another layer to it; implying a slight mischief or cheek living within whatever concise, simple little phrase that had just leapt from the mouth of a speaker.

How do you use this word in a sentence?

You don’t need tweed or a tophat in order to use this word, trust me– You only need confidence (and maybe an understanding of verbal poignancy.)

Though Michael didn’t speak up very often, whenever he did open his mouth it was– almost nine times out of ten –merely to add a brief, precise, perfectly epigrammatic phrase to the discussion at hand. His expression never changed, but if his timing was anything to go by, the man was a puddle of hidden, amusing depth


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Written by Veronica Jacobs

Veronica Jacobs is a fiction writer, blogger, academic editor, and sci-fi enthusiast. Currently working freelance (with a background in English Literature), she spends most of her time writing.


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