Definition of dirge
1 : a song or hymn of grief or lamentation; especially : one intended to accompany funeral or memorial rites
2 : a slow, solemn, and mournful piece of music
3 : something (as a poem) that has the qualities of a dirge
dirgelikeplay \-ˌlīk\ adjective
Examples of dirge in a sentence
<bagpipes played a haunting dirge at the funeral for the fallen leader>
Did You Know?
The meaning of English dirge is not directly related to the meaning of the Latin word it comes from. Dirge and its earlier form dirige, meaning “a song or hymn of mourning,” come from the first word of a Latin chant used in the church service for the dead: “Dirige, Domine deus meus, in conspectutuo viam meam” (Direct, O Lord my God, my way in thy sight). Because hymns and chants were often referred to by their first words, dirge became the common word for this chant. Later it was used for ant slow, solemn piece of music.
Origin and Etymology of dirge
Middle English dirige, the Office of the Dead, from the first word of a Late Latin antiphon, from Latin, imperative of dirigere to direct — more at dress
First Known Use: 13th century
DIRGE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of dirge for English Language Learners
: a slow song that expresses sadness or sorrow
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up dirge? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).