jer·​e·​mi·​ad | \ ˌjer-ə-ˈmī-əd How to pronounce jeremiad (audio) , -ˌad \

Definition of jeremiad

: a prolonged lamentation or complaint also : a cautionary or angry harangue the warnings became jeremiads against the folly of overemphasis on science and technology at the expense of man's subjective and emotional life — Ada Louise Huxtable

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Jeremiah was a naysayer. That Jewish prophet, who lived from about 650 to 570 BC, spent his days lambasting the Hebrews for their false worship and social injustice and denouncing the king for his selfishness, materialism, and inequities. When not calling on his people to quit their wicked ways, he was lamenting his own lot; a portion of the Old Testament's Book of Jeremiah is devoted to his "confessions," a series of lamentations on the hardships endured by a prophet with an unpopular message. Nowadays, English speakers use "Jeremiah" for a pessimistic person and "jeremiad" for the way these Jeremiahs carry on. The word jeremiad was actually borrowed from the French, who coined it as "jérémiade."

Examples of jeremiad in a Sentence

a jeremiad against the political apathy shown by so many young people
Recent Examples on the Web Though Trump ultimately failed in his quest to steal the election, his weeks-long jeremiad succeeded in undermining faith in elections and the legitimacy of Biden’s victory. Anchorage Daily News, "For Trump, 20 days of fantasy and failure," 29 Nov. 2020 Justice Alito’s 54-page jeremiad—not including a lengthy appendix—berated the majority for failing to grapple with the potential implications. The Economist, "A wider umbrella America’s Supreme Court protects gay and trans workers against discrimination," 15 June 2020 This is the point in many media jeremiads when readers are braced for a high-minded paean to issue coverage and a tearful lament about why journalists fritter away their time with horse-race coverage. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "The Political Media’s Blurred Reality," 12 Mar. 2020 As if his client wasn’t unsympathetic enough, Rapawy brought corporations who violated securities laws into the picture, singing a jeremiad for the giants. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Fraudster tells US Supreme Court it’s unjust for SEC to take swindled profits," 4 Mar. 2020 This Millennial jeremiad supplies the righteousness that’s been missing from much current deranged discourse. Armond White, National Review, "Vampire Weekend Makes the Best Pop-Political Album of the Year," 10 Dec. 2019 In 1986, President Ronald Reagan’s attorney general, Ed Meese, led a task force that climaxed with a 2,000-page jeremiad against pornography — think of the stamina! Ron Charles, Washington Post, "‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ was banned 90 years ago. Now we’re — yawn — bored by obscenity.," 17 Dec. 2019 Or an art of jeremiads, that compels us to confront our failings without escape or excuses? Washington Post, "A voice for the arts, and social justice, joins the National Gallery of Art board," 8 Jan. 2020 The speech swelled into a jeremiad of disappointment. David Montgomery, Washington Post, "The Anti-Racist Revelations of Ibram X. Kendi," 14 Oct. 2019

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

1780, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for jeremiad

French jérémiade, from Jérémie Jeremiah, from Late Latin Jeremias

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The first known use of jeremiad was in 1780

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Cite this Entry

“Jeremiad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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