10 Epitaph Examples To Study

If you are thinking about some of the best headstone sayings for a loved one, take a look at some of the top epitaph examples below.

It is always difficult when a loved one passes away, and it is important to honor the memory of a deceased person who was close to you. One of the ways to do that is through an epitaph, which might form the foundation of headstone quotes or headstone inscriptions. Regardless of whether you are looking for famous epitaphs, funny epitaphs, or even beautiful epitaphs, you might find some attribution ideas for your own epitaphs.

Some of the most beautiful epitaphs include poignant Bible verses and song lyrics. If you are looking for some best headstone sayings, take a look at the top epitaphs examples below.

Top epitaph examples

1. Free At Last, Free At Last, Thank God Almighty I’m Free At Last, Martin Luther King Jr.

It is possible that this epitaph, found on the tombstone of Martin Luther King Jr, is the most famous epitaph of all time. Many people echo the famous saying, “free at last,” without actually knowing where it came from. Martin Luther King is recognized as the father of the Civil Rights movement in the United States. Arguably the best epitaph, this line serves can serve as the foundation of a eulogy at a funeral oration and gives Martin Luther King eternal life by ensuring his voice lives on.

2. So We Beat On, Boats Against the Current, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Epitaph Examples: So We Beat On, Boats Against the Current, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Studio photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of the most popular authors of all time. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that he would have a fantastic epitaph on his tombstone, which he shares with his wife. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” This is one of the most famous lines and literature. So it’s only fitting that a line from Fitzgerald’s most renowned novel is used to honor him in death.  

3. Good Friend, for Jesus’ Sake, William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is the most famous playwright of all time. His works were all written in iambic pentameter, and he certainly went out with a bang on his tombstone. His epitaph reads, “Good Friend, for Jesus’ sake,” showing the talent of his literary mind while also alluding to the type of person he was. William Shakespeare has inspired generations of writers who have come since his time. You might also find our guide on how to write an obituary helpful.

4. And Alien Tears Will Fill for Him, Oscar Wilde

The works of Oscar Wilde have impacted countless readers all over the world, with many of his lines reflecting the tumultuous life he led. His epitaph is a reflection of that, reading, “And alien tears will fill for him, pity’s long-broken urn, mourners will be outcast men, and outcasts always mourn.” This is a powerful epitaph for an influential writer.

5. I Had a Lover’s Quarrel with the World, Robert Frost

Many people grew up reading the works of Robert Frost in school. He has an interesting epitaph on his tombstone, for it reads, “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.” This type of relationship is certainly reflected in his writing, so it only makes sense that it should be on his tombstone as well.

6. That’s All Folks, Mel Blanc

Epitaph Examples: That’s All Folks, Mel Blanc
Gene Hester, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

If poetry is your thing, why not check out our article discussing the best poetry books.

Situated right above his date of birth and date of death reads the line “That’s All Folks.” When you hear this, you probably immediately think of the Looney Tunes. That is because this is the epitaph of Mel Blanc, the voice actor who lent his talents to Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and Bugs Bunny. He deserves to be immortalized by his works, and his epitaph does this perfectly. 

7. One of the Greatest Entertainers the World Has Ever Known, Mickey Rooney

When people think about Mickey Rooney, they usually think about The Honeymooners. He is one of the greatest entertainers the world has ever known, and it is certainly reflected in his epitaph. His epitaph reads, “One of the greatest entertainers the world has ever known, Hollywood will always be his home.” It is a fitting homage to a popular actor who has made a lasting impact on the countless others around him.

8. There Goes the Neighborhood, Rodney Dangerfield

Rodney Dangerfield is one of the most popular comedians of all time. One of his most famous lines was “There goes the neighborhood,” and it only makes sense that this line should be immortalized on his tombstone as well. His unique style of comedy has inspired countless others who have come after him, and his famous line and humorous epitaph continue to be echoed in numerous sketches to this day.

9. The Best Is Yet To Come, Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra is one of the greatest singers of all time. People know him from songs such as Fly Me to the Moon and My Way. He even lent his voice to the famous play Guys and Dolls. His epitaph also reads, “The best is yet to come.” This is one of his most famous lines and reflects his eternal optimism. Frank Sinatra’s songs continue to be played on the radio constantly while inspiring other artists to follow in his footsteps.

If you want to be more optimistic like Frank, why not give our list of the best motivational books a read. 

10. And Now Abide Faith, Hope, Love, Coretta Scott King

Another titan of the Civil Rights movement, Coretta Scott King’s epitaph is not unlike that of her late husband’s. Her epitaph reads, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” If people can learn from this famous epitaph, the world will be a better place. She certainly left the world a better place than she found it, and she has spurred countless others to follow in her footsteps, pursuing social justice for others.


  • Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.