Short Epitaphs: 100 Simple Headstone Sayings

Updated October 27, 2018

It can be hard to decide what to write on a headstone or cemetery monument; how can brief epitaphs ever truly capture the emotion involved when saying goodbye to a loved one? There are many types of epitaphs that can be used, however, and investigating different options can help you choose the best words or a short headstone saying to honor the one you've lost.

Why Keep It Short?

Beautiful short epitaphs can be more powerful than longer memorial poems or extensive writings, but there are other reasons why many people opt for short quotes for headstones, or even single words. For starters, many cemeteries have restrictions on the length of epitaphs to preserve the continuity of the property so one headstone does not overwhelm a single area. Carving longer phrases can also be more expensive and doing so would likely require a larger, more costly monument. Short epitaphs, then, can be more affordable and practical while being no less meaningful or symbolic than other designs.

Short Epitaph Examples

There are short epitaphs suitable for many types of memorial headstones or similar monuments. Many family members and friends choose epitaphs that are significant to the individual they honor, whether the word or phrase relates to a relationship, career, or other meaningful characteristic. There are many wonderful ideas for headstone inscriptions that use only a few words.

Classic Epitaphs

Many simple, classic epitaphs can be suitable for any grave, such as:

  • Farewell
  • At Rest
  • At Peace
  • Finis
  • In Loving Memory
  • Rest in Peace

These epitaphs are a fine choice for any person and can be suitable no matter how they lived or died.


Some of the most popular minimalist epitaphs describe the relationship the deceased had with those who are left to mourn. Popular and suitable options include:

  • Mother / Father
  • Friend
  • Soul Mate
  • A Friend to All
  • Uncle / Aunt
  • Sister / Brother
  • Son / Daughter
  • Precious Baby

Just one of these words may be inscribed on the monument or all of the appropriate ones can be used to describe the many relationships the deceased enjoyed.


If the deceased's career was one they loved and couldn't imagine their life without, it is perfectly appropriate to include it in the epitaph. Options include:

  • Teacher
  • Doctor
  • Artist
  • Writer
  • Reverend
  • Lawyer / The Defense Rests
  • Soldier

These epitaphs are especially meaningful when someone dies in the line of work doing what they love and it helps honor the work they spent their life doing.


Emotional epitaphs are a popular way to show that the deceased meant a lot to those still living, such as:

  • So Small, So Sweet, So Soon
  • In Loving Memory
    Short phrases are popular epitaphs.
    Beloved / Loved
  • Missed
  • Love is Eternal
  • Gone But Not Forgotten
  • Always Remembered
  • Always In Our Hearts
  • Till We Meet Again
  • Died Happy

Showing an emotional connection on an epitaph is a great way to honor a loved one long after their death, ensuring that those emotions never fade.


Hobby-oriented epitaphs give a personal touch to a memorial monument and help keep a loved one connected to the activities they enjoyed the most. Common options include:

  • Gone Fishin'
  • Gone Huntin'
  • Gardening In Heaven
  • Hiking High

These more light-hearted epitaphs help loved ones remember what the deceased loved to do the most and similar phrases can be created with just about any hobby.


Spiritual epitaphs and bereavement verses are some of the most popular and it doesn't take many words to convey a religious connection on a gravestone. Some of the most common choices are:

  • In God's Care
  • The Lord is My Shepherd
  • For to this End, Christ Died
  • Safely Home
  • Our Little Angel
  • Called Back
  • Both Feet in Heaven
  • Amen

When inscribing a monument with a favorite psalm or Bible passage may be impossible due to cost, space, or other considerations, these short religious epitaphs can be just as meaningful.


Humorous epitaphs can be a good option when the deceased would have loved the joke. While it is necessary to be careful with a joking epitaph, suitable options may be:

  • Return to Sender
  • The End
  • This Sucks
  • Haunted
  • Done
  • I'll Be Back
  • At Least I'm Warm

If funny headstone sayings are appealing, it is crucial to consider whether the phrase can be understood in the lighthearted, loving manner it is intended. If a joke may be misunderstood, it would be better to choose a less humorous epitaph.

Short Epitaphs for Fathers

Fathers play such an integral role in a person's life that sometimes it's difficult to sum it up into a few words. Think about the man as a whole when considering his epitaph; being a father was one large and important aspect of who he was as a person overall.

  • Loving Father
  • Family Leader, Mischief Ringleader
  • Busy Dad, Now Resting
  • Devoted Father
  • Now Protecting Us From Above
  • Our Father, a Child of God
  • He Loved and Was Loved

Combining his role as a father along with other important attributes can also make a suitable epitaph. Consider something along the lines of "Father, Brother, Friend, Golfer."

Short Epitaphs for Mothers

Mothers epitomize selfless love and trying to put that into words might seem impossible. A loving mother deserves to have that love memorialized.

  • Loving Mother
  • Our Family's Heart
  • Selfless Love
  • Strength in Love
  • Generous of Heart
  • A Mother's Love Lives On
  • Heaven Awaits This Mother

As with the father epitaph's above, a suitable epitaph for a mom might combine several aspects of her life, such as "Mother, Sister, Friend, Teacher."

No Words

The shortest epitaphs of all may not include any words. Emblems and icons can convey great meaning on memorials and these small customized images can be used in place of word epitaphs. Popular image choices include:

  • Crosses
  • Birds / Doves
  • Hearts
  • Flowers
  • Angels / Cherubs
  • Military Emblems
  • Prayer Hands
  • Animals
  • Monograms
  • Cars
  • Landscape Scenes

It is also easy to combine an image epitaph with a few words to give even greater meaning to a simple headstone.

Other Options

If you haven't yet found an appropriate short phrase or few words to use as an epitaph, most memorial companies and funeral homes can offer suggestions. Online resources for additional epitaphs include:

Choosing an Epitaph

When choosing the few words to honor a loved one, it is essential to find the words or phrase that best represent the deceased and honor their memory. A simple epitaph can be a powerful choice or several short epitaphs can be combined to be even more meaningful. By choosing a thoughtful, loving, appropriate epitaph, you ensure your loved one will be long remembered, even with just a few words.

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Short Epitaphs: 100 Simple Headstone Sayings