1. a verse or song to be chanted or sung in response.
  2. Ecclesiastical.
    1. a psalm, hymn, or prayer sung in alternate parts.
    2. a verse or a series of verses sung as a prelude or conclusion to some part of the service.


  1. a short passage, usually from the Bible, recited or sung as a response after certain parts of a liturgical service
  2. a psalm, hymn, etc, chanted or sung in alternate parts
  3. any response or answer

c.1500, “a versicle sung responsively,” from Middle French antiphone “hymn” or directly from Medieval Latin antiphona, from Greek antiphona, from anti- “over against” (see anti-) + phone “voice” (see fame (n.)). A re-adoption of the word which had become anthem in English and lost its original meaning.

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