I am writing an article for school, and am trying to find the term used to describe a chapter which starts with a quote; my supervisor has said that there is a term for it, but he cannot remember what it is!.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  • 8
    I think the term is cliche
    – ACD
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 19:12
  • 1
    This is a question about identifying a term, and not about writing. I'm going to send this to English Language and Usage. Have you attempted to find this word yourself? If so, please edit the question to indicate this. English may close the question there otherwise. Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 17:56
  • 1
    @NeilFein Heh ... from Writers to ELU, and now an unintentional duplicate on Literature. This query sure gets around! Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 7:46

2 Answers 2


Starting a chapter with a quote is known as an Epigraph

So sayeth Wikipedia:

In literature, an epigraph is a phrase, quotation, or poem that is set at the beginning of a document or component.

And Google Define:

epigraph ˈɛpɪɡrɑːf/ noun

  1. an inscription on a building, statue, or coin.
  2. a short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme.
  • 3
    That's the name for the quote, not the chapter. But I think it's what he wants, even though not what he asked for. AFAIK, there is no special name for such a chapter, unless it's "epigraphical chapter," which is stupid.
    – dmm
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 17:59
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    @dmm, H'mm I see what you mean actually. "What's the name for /Starting/ a chaper..." sounds like he's looking for the name of the process. I would guess the process is known as "epigraphy", but that is a real word meaning the study of incriptions. Meh, I've drawn a blank and Google refuses to yield an answer, so haha I'm gonna agree with you that there's no special name :-)
    – Mac Cooper
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 18:14
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    It's quite possible that the OP or the teacher is confused about precisely what he wants a word for, or just didn't express it properly in the question.
    – Barmar
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 19:21

You're all not reading the definition carefully enough. Epigraph means "a short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book OR CHAPTER."

The answer to his question is: "epigraph."

Oh, I see, I think he misspoke. He doesn't mean the name of the chapter; that's silly. He means the name of the quotation.


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