• palinode
  • audio pronunciation
  • \PAL-uh-nohd\
  • DEFINITION

noun

1
: an ode or song recanting or retracting something in an earlier poem
2
: a formal retraction
  • EXAMPLES

Oscar Wilde wrote this famous palinode in an introduction to an essay: "Not that I agree with everything that I have said in this essay. There is much with which I entirely disagree."

"My Life Among the Deathworks is a monumental palinode, designed to unwrite the book that made [Philip] Rieff's name." — Adam Kirsch, New York Sun, March 7, 2007

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Does singing someone's praises in a palinode pay off? It did in the case of Stesichorus, a Greek poet of the 6th century B.C. According to Plato, old Stesichorus was struck blind after writing a poem insulting Helen of Troy, but his sight was restored after he wrote an apologetic palinode. That poet was only too glad to apply the Greek word palinoidia (a compound of palin, meaning "back" or "again," and aeidein, meaning "to sing"). So were 16th-century English poets, who borrowed and modified the Greek term to refer to odes of their own.

Test Your Vocabulary: The word kayak and the number 2002 are examples of what type of character sequence? The answer is …

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