What do you call those little quotes in books?
October 20, 2006 2:56 PM   Subscribe

What is the term for those little quotes that sometimes open books?

Say when you start reading a novel, and just at the start there's a quote from Shakespeare or something? I'm completely blanking. I think it might be "epigram", but I'm sure it's not.

I'm planning to open my NaNoWriMo project with a quote from Laurie Anderson's "O Superman", which is why I'm trying to figure out what this is called.
posted by SansPoint to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Epigram" is correct.
posted by gene_machine at 3:00 PM on October 20, 2006

A more colloquial term might be 'gobbet', as in 'The History Boys'?
posted by dance at 3:01 PM on October 20, 2006

Best answer: You're close - it's an epigraph.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 3:01 PM on October 20, 2006

Best answer: It's the epigraph.
posted by scody at 3:01 PM on October 20, 2006

Best answer: Argh! Epigraph!

Feels stupid. An author should know this.
posted by gene_machine at 3:04 PM on October 20, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, folks! Knew the hive mind could help!
posted by SansPoint at 4:08 PM on October 20, 2006

"Then wear the gold hat, if that will move Them;
If you can bounce high, bounce for Them too
Til They cry, 'Lover, gold-hatted, high bouncing lover,
We must have you!'"

— The Great Gatsby
posted by matthewr at 4:38 PM on October 20, 2006

matthewr, what is that, the first new caprica edition?

"Thomas Parke D'Invilliers" is turning in his fictitious grave--his quote has been de-genderized.
posted by Phred182 at 10:07 PM on October 20, 2006


Phred182, I can't believe I didn't notice that. I couldn't remember the exact words so I just Googled it and copy-and-pasted the first thing I found, without paying enough attention.

My sincere apologies to Thomas Parke D'Invilliers...
posted by matthewr at 5:19 AM on October 21, 2006

I would love to know which quote you are using. That's one of my all-time favorite songs.
posted by theperfectcrime at 9:29 PM on October 22, 2006

« Older Read my lips?   |   Area man keeping Muslim kids safe and happy, so... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.