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45 Epitaph Ideas

Epitaphs (also known as gravestone inscriptions, headstone inscriptions, or headstone quotes) are the short headstone sayings you see whenever you visit a cemetery. Headstones will usually have the date of birth, date of death, and a short headstone inscription that includes a favorite quote, saying, or phrase.

According to Oxford Languages, the official epitaph definition is: "a phrase or form of words written in memory of a person who has died, especially as an inscription on a tombstone".

If you’re looking for beautiful words to put on a headstone or beautiful epitaphs in general, you’ve come to the right place. Many people have sayings or phrases that they want to be on their headstone and may include this in their will. Other times, it’s up to the family to come up with the beautiful words to put on a headstone. If you’re in charge of choosing the epitaph for your grandparents, are searching for headstone inscriptions for parents, or any other loved one, keep in mind that the best epitaphs are usually the ones that reflect or mirror the personality and life of the deceased.

General epitaph ideas

Here are some general epitaphs that appear on many headstones. These are generally respectful and tactful epitaphs, so they’re good choices for military headstone inscriptions or other headstones you want to remain formal.

  • Always in our hearts
  • In God’s care
  • Do not mourn my death, celebrate my life
  • A long life well lived
  • Rest in peace
  • Our love is eternal
  • Dance, wherever you may be.
  • To live in the hearts of those we love is to never die.
  • An inspiration to us all.
  • Until we meet again.
  • A soul, resting eternally.
  • A drop returned to the ocean.
  • A beautiful journey, embarked on by a beautiful soul.
  • Respected, Loved, Adored, and Missed
  • Always adored, always missed.

Epitaph quotes

Below are some famous quotes, sayings or song lyrics that are often featured on epitaphs.

  • “There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.” - Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Those we love and lose are always connected by heartstrings into infinity.” - Terri Guillemets
  • “The song ended but the melody lingers on.” - Irving Berlin
  • “A life, like any other, completely unlike any other.” - Neil Gaiman
  • “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  • “To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground.” - Stephen R. Covey
  • “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.” - Henry Van Dyke
  • “People living deeply have no fear of death.” - Anais Nin
  • “Lights will guide you home.” - Coldplay
  • “Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.” - Walt Whitman

Famous epitaphs

Below you’ll find famous epitaphs that were written on the gravestones of famous individuals, both from celebrities and from those who have had such a unique epitaph that it’s become well-known.

  • “This is the last of Earth! I am content!” – John Quincy Adams
  • “Well this was fun, let’s do it again sometime.” – Quniaron Bellthing
  • “Workers of all lands unite. The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” – Karl Marx
  • “Truth to your own spirit” – Jim Morrison
  • “Murdered by a traitor and a coward whose name is not worthy to appear here.” – Jesse James
  • “Called back.” – Emily Dickinson
  • “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I’m Free At Last.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “That’s all, folks!” – Mel Blanc
  • “The best is yet to come.” – Frank Sinatra “* I told you so, you damned fools.” – H. G. Wells

Funny epitaphs

Headstone endearment phrases do not always have to be somber or serious; many people choose to have a funny epitaph and even some funny epitaphs that rhyme. Here are some examples to get you started.

  • “He loved bacon; Oh, and his wife and kids, too.”
  • “She always said her feet were killing her, but no one believed her.”
  • “I told you I was sick!”
  • “Here lies an Atheist; all dressed up and no place to go!”
  • “One way, do not enter.”
  • “I was a writer, but then, nobody’s perfect.” - appeared on Billy Wilder’s headstone
  • “If you’re reading this, you desperately need a hobby.” - appeared on Alan Dale Wilcox headstone
  • “He never saw it coming.”
  • “My wife deplored her duty, but O' was she good-looking. She sold me on her beauty. But killed me with her cooking.” - Written by Gregory R Barden
  • “Now that I'm dead I can finally relax, worry free of April 15th and filing my income tax.” - Written by Cheryl Hoffman

Epitaphs are endlessly customizable and offer a chance for an element of personality to be forever engraved on a headstone. The more words you choose, the higher the price will likely be for your headstone of choice. If you’re looking for headstones to engrave, check out Ever Loved’s marketplace.

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Last updated December 21, 2021
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