Now’s a fine time to tell you the basic definition of a eulogy. Better late than never …
A eulogy is a speech or piece of writing in praise of a person or thing.
The common usage of the word refers to a speech given to pay tribute to someone who has died recently. The speech is usually given at a funeral or memorial gathering.
Often eulogies provide a summary of someone’s life including a chronology of significant life events – birth, education, marriage, career, children, places the person lived and special accomplishments or set backs.
A good eulogy will celebrate the whole person: their strengths, their joys, challenges and achievements and will be spoken by someone who knew the decedent very well and who speaks from the heart.
Eulogies can incorporate memories, stories, anecdotes, poems and readings.
Multiple people can contribute to a eulogy each presenting their own reflections about the person being honored. Family and friends can come forward and tell the story themselves or one person can repeat the stories in the text of the eulogy.
Related terms include:
Elegy – is a sorrowful or serious poem; a lament for the dead.
Epitaph – a commemorative inscription on a tombstone about the person buried there. Also: a brief poem or statement in praise of a deceased person.