in classical poetry, a verse in elegiac meter; of later works, "a mournful or plaintive poem, a poem or song expressive of sorrow and lamentation, a funeral song," 1510s, from French elegie, from Latin elegia, from Greek elegeia ode "an elegaic song," from elegeia, fem. of elegeios "elegaic," from elegos "poem or song of lament," later "poem written in elegiac verse," which is of uncertain origin, perhaps from a Phrygian word. In, and partly due to, Gray's "Elegy in a County Churchyard," it has also a sense of "a serious poem pervaded by a tone of melancholy," whether mourning or grieving or not. Related: Elegiast.
updated on December 08, 2020