en·​co·​mi·​um en-ˈkō-mē-əm How to pronounce encomium (audio)
plural encomiums also encomia en-ˈkō-mē-ə How to pronounce encomium (audio)
: glowing and warmly enthusiastic praise
also : an expression of this

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Kudos to encomium for being a marvelous, magnificent, must-have word for high praise for over four centuries—at least in formal speech and writing. Indeed, like its synonym panegyric, encomium (from the Greek word enkōmion, meaning “celebration”) has seen a steady drop in usage since the early 1800s and is rarely encountered outside of literary or highfalutin contexts. It does pop up in pop culture now and again, however. Music fans of a certain generation may remember a host of their favorite artists, from Tori Amos to Stone Temple Pilots, paying tribute to Led Zeppelin in 1995 on the appropriately titled album Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin. And more recently, the famously loquacious television series Gilmore Girls dropped encomium no less than five times in a 2016 episode featuring “Stars Hollow: The Musical,” a show-within-a-show featuring the line “Not so fast with the encomiums!” Of course, you may dish out your own encomiums in any manner or velocity you wish—and verily we shall tip our chapeaux.

Choose the Right Synonym for encomium

encomium, eulogy, panegyric, tribute, citation mean a formal expression of praise.

encomium implies enthusiasm and warmth in praising a person or a thing.

received encomiums from literary critics

eulogy applies to a prepared speech or writing extolling the virtues and services of a person.

delivered the eulogy at the funeral service

panegyric suggests an elaborate often poetic compliment.

her lyrical memoir was a panegyric to her mentor

tribute implies deeply felt praise conveyed either through words or through a significant act.

the concert was a musical tribute to the early jazz masters

citation applies to the formal praise of a person offered in a military dispatch or in awarding an honorary degree.

earned a citation for bravery

Examples of encomium in a Sentence

the encomiums bestowed on a teacher at her retirement ceremonies
Recent Examples on the Web The Other One, an encomium to Weir on Netflix; next came 2017’s Long Strange Trip, which premiered at Sundance and was executive-produced by Martin Scorsese. Jeff Weiss, Spin, 21 Aug. 2023 Advertisement Many Dutch paintings are encomia to cities, particularly Delft, where so many of the greatest artists lived and worked. Becca Rothfeld, Washington Post, 28 June 2023 That encomium from the master of realpolitik was indicative of the respect and esteem that Shultz, who died earlier this month at his home on the Stanford University campus at the age of 100, was held, and not just by ideological compatriots such as Kissinger. Jeremy Carl, Washington Examiner, 11 Feb. 2021 The telegraph played a role in Chicago’s early development, notably the year before Medill’s encomium to Morse. Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune, 1 Jan. 2023 In a fitting tribute, the shuffle of iconic characters that opens every Marvel movie here is composed entirely of images of Boseman, a moving encomium to a gifted and charismatic actor who left the stage much too soon. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2022 This encomium was not one that Frankfurter received only posthumously. Justin Driver, The Atlantic, 12 Aug. 2022 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 This encomium seems a little like awarding the season’s M.V.P. during spring training, simply because an intrepid player announces his plan to bat .400. Bill McKibben, The New Yorker, 24 Dec. 2020 See More

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

Word History


Latin, from Greek enkōmion, from en in + kōmos revel, celebration

First Known Use

1567, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of encomium was in 1567


Dictionary Entries Near encomium

Cite this Entry

“Encomium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encomium. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


en·​co·​mi·​um en-ˈkō-mē-əm How to pronounce encomium (audio)
plural encomiums also encomia
: warm or high praise especially when formally expressed : eulogy

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