You could call them the final word, the last say, the ultimate accolade or, indeed, the deadliest put-down. Whichever fits the bill, the person they refer to is not going to be in much of a position to answer back.
Epitaphs – from Spike Milligan's famous "I told you I was ill" to the stinging inscription on the headstone of 102-year-old Canadian Ezekial Aiklee, "The good die young" – are words from beyond the grave that succinctly and sometimes rather scathingly sum up a life now lost.
Typically penned in tribute by the poor deceased's nearest and dearest, they're how we're remembered when we're dead and buried – like it or not.
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