What is an Epigraph?

What is an epigraph? And what is the difference between an epigraph, an epitaph, and an epigram? We’re here to define the epigraph and differentiate it from its near-homophonous neighbours in the dictionary. So, before we launch into a full introduction to the epigraph and its usefulness for writers, let’s distinguish between epigraph, epitaph, and epigram.

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The Curious Origin of the Word ‘Dystopia’

The interesting origins of dystopia

The word ‘dystopia’ is well-known as the opposite, or antonym of ‘utopia’. ‘Utopia’ owes its existence to Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), whose 1516 work Utopia introduced the word into English (though More’s book was actually written in Latin). Utopia is a pun, designed to put us in mind of the Greek u-topos (‘no place’) and eu-topos (‘good place’). Utopias, More appears to be saying, are too good to be true. The origin of the equivalent term, ‘dystopia’, is a rather interesting one.

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The Curious Origin of the Word ‘Muggle’

The interesting origins of a curious word

The most widely known and widely used meaning of the word ‘muggle’ is probably the one that J. K. Rowling invented for her Harry Potter series of books: namely, a person who does not possess magical skills. Normally written with a capital M, ‘Muggle’ is used, then, for those non-wizards in the world of Harry Potter. But the word’s origins can be traced back nearly eight centuries.

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The Curious Origin of the Word ‘Blatant’

The origins of a blatantly curious word

The meaning of the word ‘blatant’ is, one suspects, blatantly obvious. But how it arrived at its modern meaning is not. The word has a curious history within the world of English poetry, and ‘blatant’ took its time to arrive at its modern definition. Its origin is perhaps one of the most curious in all of the English language.

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The Curious Origin of the Word ‘Tuffet’

The interesting origins of an elusive word

Here’s a question for you: what does the word ‘tuffet’ mean? Can you picture or describe one? The word ‘tuffet’ should be easy enough to define. Its origins, similarly, should be fairly straightforward when we look into it. How about we make it a multiple choice question? Is a tuffet:

  1. a tuft or bunch of something
  2. a small hill or mound
  3. a hassock or footstool?

If you answered 3. then, alas, it appears you’re wrong. Or at least you may be. It’s a tricky issue, you see.

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