Usually a eulogy makes the dead person sound a lot more impressive than they really were.

  • A couple of less common synonyms for this kind of "praise the dead" speech are panegyric and encomium.

Is there a similar noun (phrase) when the dead person is chastised and critised?

  • 2
    'Speak ill of'. Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 19:51
  • 1
    Note that panegyric and encomium are just praising speeches—they don’t imply that the subject being praised is dead. Chastising and criticising someone who’s dead could be (perhaps somewhat exaggeratedly) described as dancing on their grave. Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 20:27
  • I think that is a reasonable extension of the expression, @JanusBahsJacquet. I'm not sure, but I think its general meaning is get revenge by outliving a person. Showing up at his funeral, and dropping a few derogatory bombs on his memory seems true to the word picture. God forbid, I would never do it myself though.
    – ScotM
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 23:27

4 Answers 4


The obvious negative counterpart of eulogy would be dyslogy. Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) doesn't list that word, although it does have an entry for dyslogistic:

dyslogistic adj (1812) : UNCOMPLIMENTARY

On the other hand, dyslogy does appear in the Collins Online Dictionary, with the following definitions:

dyslogy noun 1. the fact of criticizing or condemning 2. the aspects suggested in processing information and liable to be at the root of mistakes made in thought processes

If dyslogy seems a bit arcane or unsettled for your purposes, you might consider (besides the options ScotM suggests) the words malediction ("CURSE, EXECRATION"), execration ("the act of cursing or denouncing"), and denunciation ("an act of denouncing; esp : a public condemnation"). All of the parenthetical definitions in this paragraph are from the Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary.

  • 1
    Thumbs up- negative counterpart of eulogy would be dyslogy. thanks! Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 16:58

"Praise the dead" : laudatory, "criticize the dead": condemnatory.

I think there is a measure of glorification that a death activates. When someone dies, we’re almost forced to see the person in a positive light and say nothing that may reflect badly on the person.


In light of the cultural objection to criticizing the dead, most people find a way to deliver

a left-handed compliment:

noun phrase

Praise that is subtle dispraise; reluctant and dubious praise:

Telling that amusing story of his drunken tomfoolery was a left-handed complement.

Depending on the severity of the criticism and nature of the objections other labels may fit:



[MASS NOUN] formal

1.0 Criticism or censure:

Her animadversion against her dead father was understandable even if it was awkward.



(usually aspersions)

An attack on the reputation or integrity of someone or something:

It is generally considered rude to cast aspersions on the dead while everyone is mourning deeply.




1.0 Harsh criticism or censure:

His evil deeds earned Hitler almost universal opprobrium.

Because it only benefits the critic, many people would consider public criticism of the dead cavil until some time of mourning has passed:


A petty or unnecessary objection.

All the cavil is water under the bridge.

  • Well done! I'd give this 2+ if I could! Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 20:31
  • 2
    Denunciation and calumny also have their uses.
    – choster
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 20:36
  • I considered calumny, but it has a strong connotation of falsehood. Denunciation could work.
    – ScotM
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 23:04
  • 1
    "left handed compliment"- thanks for the word, deserves a compliment. Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 16:59

Another word is dispraise:

noun : 1. censure; criticism; "this engraving has on occasion elicited dispraise for Raphael."

verb : 1. express censure or criticism of (someone); "men cannot praise Dryden without dispraising Coleridge."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.