can·​ti·​cle ˈkan-ti-kəl How to pronounce canticle (audio)
: song
specifically : one of several liturgical songs (such as the Magnificat) taken from the Bible

Examples of canticle in a Sentence

the monks offered up a canticle at dawn on Easter morning
Recent Examples on the Web The leaders of this communal canticle were the women of Boygenius — Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. Stephen Daw, Billboard, 3 Oct. 2023 The first was Bach’s glorious 12-part canticle, premiered in 1723 as the conclusion of the Christmas Vespers in Leipzig as a sort of meet-your-new-cantor demonstration of his powers. Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2021 The first was that the canticle contains an encomium of Saint Dominic, who in Merwin’s eyes was the most villainous churchman of the Middle Ages. Robert Pogue Harrison, The New York Review of Books, 17 Aug. 2017 For many students of Dante, Purgatory is the Divine Comedy’s central canticle poetically, philosophically, and psychologically. Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, 13 Sep. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'canticle.' 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, from Latin canticulum, diminutive of canticum song, from cantus, past participle of canere

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of canticle was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near canticle

Cite this Entry

“Canticle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


can·​ti·​cle ˈkant-i-kəl How to pronounce canticle (audio)
: a song from the Bible used in church services

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