paean

noun
pae·​an | \ˈpē-ən \

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

The composer Richard Wagner, whose anti-Semitic legacy has long been debated, created staggering operas, based on Old Norse mythology, that doubled as paeans to an imagined German past. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "The centuries-old history of Jewish “puppet master” conspiracy theories," 2 Nov. 2018 The unbuilt paean to the college game featured a towering, flat facade, upon which video would be broadcast at a scale big enough to turn the parking lot into drive-in, according to critic Witold Rybczynski. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Masterpieces of Robert Venturi, a postmodern architecture icon," 20 Sep. 2018 The 10-course tasting menu is a paean to the seasons: baby sweetfish the size of your pinky in summer, deep-fried croquettes made with sea turtle and lotus root in winter. Melinda Joe, Condé Nast Traveler, "34 Best Restaurants in Tokyo," 2 Mar. 2018 Guyville was a paean to a certain time in the life of a girl. Sarah Nardi, Chicago Reader, "The Bongo Room turns 25: A look back at Wicker Park's beloved brunch spot," 5 July 2018 The Hawks film was based on Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s 1928 classic, The Front Page, a satirical paean to the hyper-competitive Chicago journalism of the era. Julia M. Klein, Philly.com, "'His Girl Friday' at Hedgerow: Fast talk, fast pace," 2 July 2018 Before an audience that was all white — the government wouldn’t have it any other way — Kennedy delivered a paean to the freedom of speech, protest and the press. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: RFK’s speech in apartheid South Africa remains relevant 50 years after his assassination," 5 June 2018 For Cline and his co-screenwriter, Zak Penn, Spielberg — who cast his own Halliday-like influence over the childhoods of anyone who came of age in the 1980s — was the dream director to helm this paean to geek culture. Josh Rottenberg, latimes.com, "‘Ready Player One’s’ Steven Spielberg and Ernest Cline on pooling their nostalgia to tell a new story," 23 Mar. 2018 There are paeans to the beauty of Jimi Hendrix and Prince. New York Times, "Sonnets That Reckon With Donald Trump’s America," 19 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near paean

paduasoy

Paduca

Paducah

paean

paedagogy

paediatric

paedicatio

Statistics for paean

Last Updated

23 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for paean

The first known use of paean was in 1589

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More Definitions for paean

paean

noun

English Language Learners Definition of paean

: a song of joy, praise, or victory

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More from Merriam-Webster on paean

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with paean

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for paean

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about paean

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