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

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 they 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 series is a tribute to sleuthing—to quests—and a wide-eyed paean to magical realism. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 15 Aug. 2022 But rest assured that Shattuck’s memoir is much more than a paean to Thoreau. Heller Mcalpin, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Apr. 2022 Her stream-of-consciousness paean ends with what might be a description of her own soon-to-be rock stardom. Roy Trakin, Variety, 11 June 2022 Muti’s concluding paean to the importance of culture was more heartfelt, if also more predictable. Hannah Edgar, Chicago Tribune, 28 June 2022 Not to mention asps, chickadees, raptors, ingenues, con artists and magicians, as well as a wide array of genres for nearly every taste and mood: poetry, history, memoir, fantasy, literary fiction and a paean to the natural world. Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times, 2 May 2022 His book, a paean to Mr. Carter, is ironic and smart, a social history and a poignant coming-of-age story. Moira Hodgson, WSJ, 22 Apr. 2022 Composed shortly after Nazi Germany’s defeat, there’s little debate that Shostakovich did not deliver a noble paean to the people’s struggle during the Great Patriotic War, upsetting Soviet officials. Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Mar. 2022 It’s a paean to adventure on foot and the pleasures of traveling light in every sense — a welcome tonic for wearying times. Washington Post, 30 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

2 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Paean.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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