\ ˈdərj How to pronounce dirge (audio) \

Definition of dirge

1 : a song or hymn of grief or lamentation especially : one intended to accompany funeral or memorial rites a funeral dirge
2 : a slow, solemn, and mournful piece of music
3 : something (such as a poem) that has the qualities of a dirge

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Other Words from dirge

dirgelike \ ˈdərj-​ˌlīk How to pronounce dirgelike (audio) \ adjective

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 any slow, solemn piece of music.

Examples of dirge in a Sentence

bagpipes played a haunting dirge at the funeral for the fallen leader

Recent Examples on the Web

In the premiere episode, the soundtrack bops from a Beyoncé anthem to a Megan Thee Stallion hot girl jam to Danish singer Agnes Obel's crying-alone-in-my-room dirge. Morgan Baila, refinery29.com, "The Euphoria Soundtrack Is Chaotic In The Best Way — Listen Here," 25 June 2019 Yet the company is going out not with a funeral dirge but an exciting, involving collection of dance works performed by the company between 2007 and 2016. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: Zenon Dance Company’s farewell is exhilarating and touching," 14 June 2019 The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club then led a dirge second-line to Dooky Chase’s restaurant, where Chase and her husband, who died in 2016, fed civil rights leaders, musicians, celebrities and U.S. presidents. Ann Maloney, nola.com, "New Orleans bids final farewell to Leah Chase with funeral Mass, second-lines," 10 June 2019 The politics around guns have changed in recent years, recast by a burst of student activism, deep-pocketed allies and a steady dirge of grim headlines from schools, churches, concerts — and now a Virginia Beach municipal building. Campbell Robertson, New York Times, "After Another Mass Shooting, Another Virginia Governor Tries to Change Gun Laws," 4 June 2019 That song was not written as a torchy love song or a draggy dirge. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Scott Ostler: Deep thoughts, cheap shots & bon mots," 30 June 2018 Most importantly, the men's song parallels the funeral dirge that a Serbian marching band performs at the beginning of Good Luck, introducing the theme of despair that runs through the first half of the film. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Chicago Underground Film Festival: Gold and copper miners tough it out in Good Luck," 5 June 2018 Built to Spill plays cartwheeling, daydreaming tunes that float above it all, while Afghan Whigs specializes in darker dirges from down below. Justin Jacobs, Indianapolis Star, "‘Eva’ premiere, Brett Eldredge show among top things to do in Indianapolis this April," 4 Apr. 2018 In lesser hands, this would have been a death metal dirge. Josh Wigler, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Hard Sun' Creator on Show's "Visceral and Shocking" Violence," 8 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dirge.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dirge

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

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Dictionary Entries near dirge



dire wolf





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Time Traveler for dirge

The first known use of dirge was in the 13th century

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English Language Learners Definition of dirge

: a slow song that expresses sadness or sorrow

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More from Merriam-Webster on dirge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dirge

Spanish Central: Translation of dirge

Nglish: Translation of dirge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dirge for Arabic Speakers

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formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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