anthem








noun

  1. a song, as of praise, devotion, or patriotism: the national anthem of Spain; our college anthem.
  2. a piece of sacred vocal music, usually with words taken from the Scriptures.
  3. a hymn sung alternately by different sections of a choir or congregation.

verb (used with object)

  1. to celebrate with or in an anthem.

noun

  1. a song of loyalty or devotion, as to a nation or collegea national anthem
  2. a musical composition for a choir, usually set to words from the Bible, sung as part of a church service
  3. a religious chant sung antiphonally
  4. a popular rock or pop song
n.

Old English ontemn, antefn, “a composition (in prose or verse) sung antiphonally,” from Late Latin antefana, from Greek antiphona “verse response” (see antiphon). Sense evolved to “a composition set to sacred music” (late 14c.), then “song of praise or gladness” (1590s). Used in reference to the English national song (technically, as OED points out, a hymn) and extended to those of other nations. Modern spelling is from late 16c., perhaps an attempt to make the word look more Greek.

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