Definition of litany
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
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
He has a litany of grievances against his former employer.
The team blamed its losses on a litany of injuries.
Recent Examples of litany from the Web
President Trump trolled Hillary Clinton after the former Democratic presidential nominee blamed a litany of factors -- including Russia, Facebook and national misogyny -- for her 2016 loss during a Wednesday forum in California.
A litany of critical medical procedures followed, including hip, femur and knee replacements and the removal of a kidney.
But, eroded by a litany of complaints—surging crime, stagnant wages, corruption—
On Friday, DCFS released a new report describing a litany of failures by investigators who opened at least 10 investigations into abuse and neglect in Semaj's home during the two years before her death.
Starters Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs remain on the DL, alongside a litany of relievers plus two starters recovering from 2016 elbow ligament-replacement surgery, Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano.
If something is missing, the litany of celestial objects seen in the sky seems to exclude only this one thing.
Over the course of a two-hour keynote on Monday, Apple introduced a litany of software and services that sounded awfully familiar.
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.
Did You Know?
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
First Known Use: 13th century
LITANY Defined for English Language Learners
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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