an·​them ˈan(t)-thəm How to pronounce anthem (audio)
: a song or hymn of praise or gladness
a patriotic anthem
: a usually rousing popular song that typifies or is identified with a particular subculture, movement, or point of view
anthems of teenage angst
: a psalm or hymn sung antiphonally or responsively
: a sacred vocal composition with words usually from the Scriptures
anthemic adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The band again revisited Guthrie’s collection of unpublished songs for Okemah Rising, showcasing a more humorous side of Guthrie’s lyrical wit into adaptations that feel tailor-made for the working class anthems and stories of protest that often inhabit the Dropkick Murphys’ music. Dave Brooks, Billboard, 16 May 2023 Needless to say, these songs have become anthems for women who have gone through heartbreak and betrayal — but the backlash from their exes indicate the men in these situations would like their wrongdoings to stay in the private realm. Nicole Froio,, 11 May 2023 Since the 1720s, the principal coronation anthem has been Zadok the Priest, by Handel — George Frideric Handel, who was born Georg Friedrich Händel and became an honorary Englishman. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 8 May 2023 The king has also selected 12 new pieces of music for the service, including a coronation anthem by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Catherine Garcia, The Week, 2 May 2023 Aviance, then 10, was drawn to its infectious bass rhythm, the sweeping strings and horns and, of course, Gaynor’s soaring vocals, which made the song an enduring anthem of empowerment and resilience — particularly in the LGBTQ community. Janay Kingsberry, Washington Post, 28 Apr. 2023 The quintessential Southern anthem gave Haynes, Gibbons and Slash room to stretch out on solos. Matt Wake |, al, 4 Apr. 2023 The Cunninghams were impressed that the Prince and Princess of Wales knew the words, singing the anthem heartily when the band played towards the end of the parade. Simon Perry, Peoplemag, 1 Mar. 2023 The pair’s songs are Frankenstein monsters of trap-rap percussion, nu-metal menace and the macabre preoccupations of horrorcore — full-id, no-shelter anthems about death and destruction. Chris Kelly, Washington Post, 10 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'anthem.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English antem, from Old English antefn, from Late Latin antiphona, from Late Greek antiphōna, plural of antiphōnon, from Greek, neuter of antiphōnos responsive, from anti- + phōnē sound — more at ban entry 1

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

Time Traveler
The first known use of anthem was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near anthem

Cite this Entry

“Anthem.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


an·​them ˈan(t)-thəm How to pronounce anthem (audio)
: a sacred composition with words usually from the Scriptures
: a song of praise or gladness

More from Merriam-Webster on anthem

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