pae·​an | \ ˈpē-ən How to pronounce paean (audio) \

Definition of paean

1 : a joyous song or hymn of praise, tribute, thanksgiving, or triumph unite their voices in a great paean to liberty— Edward Sackville-West
2 : a work that praises or honors its subject : encomium, tribute wrote a paean to the queen on her 50th birthday

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Did You Know?

According to the poet Homer, the Greek god Apollo sometimes took the guise of Paean, physician to the gods. The earliest musical paeans were hymns of thanksgiving and praise that were dedicated to Apollo. They were sung at events ranging from boisterous festivals to public funerals, and were the traditional marching songs of armies heading into battle. Over time, the word became generalized, and it is now used for any kind of tribute.

Examples of paean in a Sentence

his retirement party featured many paeans for his long years of service to the company
Recent Examples on the Web Anna Murphy, fashion editor of The Times of London, wrote a paean to lipstick in Harper’s Bazaar in November 2019, months before the pandemic. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Kissing lipstick goodbye: Are facemasks wiping away the simple joy of cosmetics?," 31 May 2019 Irresistible is a paean to the people of middle America that, by stripping away their complexities, leaves them utterly dehumanized. Jacob Lambert, TheWeek, "Jon Stewart's disappointing return," 26 June 2020 Richmond’s Lee sculpture sits atop a pedestal on a traffic circle at the gateway to Monument Avenue, an architectural paean to white Richmonders’ long tradition of gracious, segregated living. Allison Anna Tait, The Conversation, "Latest legal hurdle to removing Confederate statues in Virginia: The wishes of their long-dead white donors," 19 June 2020 In another paean to domestic life, photographer Martyn Thompson turns his camera on his own residence in Woodstock, New York. Kristina O’neill, WSJ, "Editor in Chief Kristina O’Neill on the June/July 2020 Issue," 4 June 2020 This paean to Venice — part notebook, part prose poem — is composed in vignettes of two decades of winters Brodsky spent there. Jordan Kisner, New York Times, "In This Moment of Solitude, Books Can Be Our Passports," 27 Mar. 2020 Now For all Reno’s paeans to courage, the pandemic has shown us, in starker terms than before, the extent to which modern conservatism is driven by resentment of a seemingly hostile, terrifying world. Matthew Sitman, The New Republic, "Why the Pandemic Is Driving Conservative Intellectuals Mad," 21 May 2020 But the Chicago River Museum, a charming paean to the backward-flowing waterway in a corner bridgehouse of Michigan Avenue’s DuSable Bridge, turns this seasonal rite of nautical passage into an object not of irritation but of intrigue. Steve Johnson,, "Hurried Chicagoans hate it when the river bridges open. The Chicago River Museum sells tickets.," 8 Oct. 2019 Romances are not only tales of love between partners, but paeans to self-love. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Hot Stuff: Five new romances tackle the struggle to feel deserving of love," 3 Dec. 2019

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

1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for paean

Latin, hymn of thanksgiving especially addressed to Apollo, from Greek paian, paiōn, from Paian, Paiōn, epithet of Apollo in the hymn

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The first known use of paean was in 1589

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Last Updated

15 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Paean.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce paean (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of paean

literary : a song of joy, praise, or victory

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