\ˈhim \

Definition of hymn 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a song of praise to God sing a hymn of thanksgiving

b : a metrical composition adapted for singing in a religious service a book of hymns

2 : a song of praise or joy in jolly hymns they praise the god of wine— John Dryden

3 : something resembling a song of praise : paean The novel is a hymn to childhood and innocence.


hymned\ ˈhimd \; hymning\ ˈhi-​miŋ \

Definition of hymn (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to praise or worship in or as if in hymns (see hymn entry 1) the heroes who are hymned in this book

intransitive verb

: to sing a song that praises God : to sing a hymn listening to the choir hymn

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Other Words from hymn


hymnlike \ ˈhim-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Examples of hymn in a Sentence


sing a hymn of praise our Sunday church services always open with a hymn


during the honeymoon following the inauguration, newspaper articles seemed to hymn the president's every move
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The couple also chose two hymns, two lessons and two anthems for the occasion. Nardine Saad, latimes.com, "Britain's Prince Louis is christened in London," 9 July 2018 An eminent, plush-toned vocalist and pianist, Mr. Sneed has a broad repertoire, encompassing Christian hymns and modern gospel, jazz standards and Western classical. New York Times, "13 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 28 June 2018 In a service punctuated by Arabic chant, Aramaic prayer and Catholic hymn, Francis said the Orthodox and Catholic leaders wanted to give voice to those who have none. Washington Post, "Pope denounces ‘murderous indifference’ by powers in Mideast," 7 July 2018 Her songs always become hymns for the community, since her lyrics are about love and spite, equality, and even saying goodbye to a toxic relationship. Suzette Fernandez, Billboard, "Paulina Rubio's Best Songs to Celebrate Pride Month: Critic's Picks," 5 June 2018 The War of 1812 is perhaps an odd choice as a historical anchor for our national hymn. Joss Fong, Vox, "A debate on the merits of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”," 4 July 2018 Relentless Republican obstruction didn’t fit with Obama’s tale of there being no red or blue America; rising chaos and nationalism were out of tune with his hymn of walls falling. George Packer, The New Yorker, "Witnessing the Obama Presidency, from Start to Finish," 5 June 2018 Graham personally approved the planning and details of his funeral, including his favorite hymns, with his friend and music director Cliff Barrows, who died in 2016. Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Washington Post, "Here are details for Billy Graham’s funeral: A viewing at the U.S. Capitol and a private service in N.C.," 22 Feb. 2018 This popular musical is a hymn to the great Dubin and Warren songbook. John Timpane, Philly.com, "The plays and musicals to see in Philadelphia this summer: Aladdin, PA Shakespeare, more," 30 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But the wounds sustained and inflicted by cheating hearts, so often hymned by Nashville balladeers, are a specialty of Mr. Lonergan. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Shame and Guilt Drives Several New Productions, Which Is Good for Us," 18 Feb. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hymn.' 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 hymn


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1667, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for hymn


Middle English ymne, from Old English ymen, from Latin hymnus song of praise, from Greek hymnos


see hymn entry 1

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Last Updated

28 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for hymn

The first known use of hymn was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for hymn



English Language Learners Definition of hymn

: a religious song : a song that praises God


\ˈhim \

Kids Definition of hymn

: a song of praise especially to God

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More from Merriam-Webster on hymn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hymn

Spanish Central: Translation of hymn

Nglish: Translation of hymn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hymn for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hymn

Comments on hymn

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playful or foolish behavior

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