Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Let's say:

  1. John Doe writes a book -- Me and My Dog Spot. On the page after the title, he writes: For Nancy.

  2. My aunt gives this book to me for my birthday, and on the title page, she adds in her penmanship: Dear Jen, this reminds me of you and Fluffy. Love, Aunt Marge

I'd refer to #1 and #2 as a dedication, but are there more appropriate terms?


3 Answers 3

up vote 13 down vote accepted

The printed, authorial kind is definitely a dedication, as you say.

The handwritten personal kind, I would usually call an inscription, though I’ve also heard dedication. See e.g. this flickr group for confirmation of this usage of inscription.


I've heard and seen dedication used for both. The handwritten kind can be called inscription, as others have said, or an autograph (though this is more used when carrying a signature, possible of someone well-known).


Inscription is the word I was looking for regarding #2


This site is currently not accepting new answers.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .