phi·​lip·​pic fə-ˈli-pik How to pronounce philippic (audio)
: a discourse or declamation full of bitter condemnation : tirade

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In 351 B.C., the Greek orator Demosthenes delivered a fiery speech warning his countrymen against the imperialistic designs of Philip II, king of Macedon, and chastising them for their timidity and inaction. In Greek, this and subsequent such speeches on the subject made by Demosthenes were known as philippikoi logoi, literally, "speeches relating to Philip." Demosthenes is known to have delivered only three Philippics; in contrast, the Philippics of the Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero attacking Marc Antony some 300 years later - orationes philippicae in Latin (so-named because of their similarity to Demosthenes' orations) - numbered fourteen. We still capitalize the word when we refer to these famous diatribes, but ever since 1592, philippic has been used (usually in lowercase) in a broader sense as well.

Examples of philippic in a Sentence

the head coach was briefly suspended after launching into a foul-mouthed philippic during a press conference
Recent Examples on the Web While its always welcome to see additional news outlets in the battle for truth, justice and the American way, this philippic certainly doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously as a dispenser of information. Charles Selle, Chicago Tribune, 19 Sep. 2022 Early Friday morning, around 1 am Eastern, President Donald Trump had published a 102-word philippic to his Facebook and Twitter pages. Benjamin Wofford, Wired, 10 Mar. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'philippic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French philippique, from Latin & Greek; Latin philippica, orationes philippicae, speeches of Cicero against Mark Antony, translation of Greek philippikoi logoi, speeches of Demosthenes against Philip II of Macedon, literally, speeches relating to Philip

First Known Use

1592, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of philippic was in 1592


Dictionary Entries Near philippic

Cite this Entry

“Philippic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

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