litany

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noun lit·a·ny \ˈli-tə-nē, ˈlit-nē\

Definition of litany

plural

litanies

  1. 1 :  a prayer consisting of a series of invocations and supplications by the leader with alternate responses by the congregation the Litany of the Saints

  2. 2a :  a resonant or repetitive chant a litany of cheering phrases — Herman Woukb :  a usually lengthy recitation or enumeration a familiar litany of complaintsc :  a sizable series or set a litany of problems The drug has a litany of possible side effects.

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Examples of litany in a Sentence

  1. He has a litany of grievances against his former employer.

  2. The team blamed its losses on a litany of injuries.

Recent Examples of litany from the Web

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

A Short History of litany

Litany came to English through Anglo-French and Late Latin, ultimately from the Greek word litaneia, meaning "entreaty." Litany refers literally to a type of prayer in which a series of lines are spoken alternately by a leader and a congregation. This use dates to the 13th century. Between that century and the 20th, three figurative senses developed. The chant-like quality of a literal litany led first to a "repetitive chant" sense. Next, the repetitious—and sometimes interminable—nature of the original litany led to a "lengthy recitation" sense. Finally, the "lengthy recitation" sense was extended to refer to any sizable series or set.

Origin and Etymology of litany

Middle English letanie, from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French, from Late Latin litania, from Late Greek litaneia, from Greek, entreaty, from litanos supplicant


LITANY Defined for English Language Learners

litany

play
noun

Definition of litany for English Language Learners

  • : a prayer in a Christian church service in which the people at the service respond to lines spoken by the person who is leading the service

  • : a long list of complaints, problems, etc.


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