noun, often capitalized
\ ˈsäm How to pronounce psalm (audio) , ˈsälm, ˈsȯm, ˈsȯlm How to pronounce psalm (audio) \

Definition of psalm

: a sacred song or poem used in worship especially : one of the biblical hymns collected in the Book of Psalms

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of psalm in a Sentence

after the sermon we sang a brief psalm

Recent Examples on the Web

Journalist and wanderer, Ketcham has written a psalm to nature and a manifesto to stop the forces that are threatening a territory that stretches from Colorado to the Pacific Coast. Los Angeles Times, "Review: The American West is dying. Christopher Ketcham’s ‘This Land’ is a rallying cry to save it," 26 July 2019 Each cross had been decorated with a victim's name and photo as well as balloons, American flags, flowers and psalms. Rose Velazquez, USA TODAY, "In Virginia Beach, a struggle to return to routine less than 72 hours after tragedy," 2 June 2019 And in a heartening choral number, a traditional Hebrew prayer for peace entwines with a Christian psalm and acts of Muslim devotion. Misha Berson, The Seattle Times, "‘Come From Away’ at 5th Avenue Theatre is openhearted and exhilarating," 16 Oct. 2018 In it, the rapper looks at a shifting America through fresh eyes and emerges with a manifesto of sorts; these are trap-psalms for the forgotten. Juan Vidal, Billboard, "Lecrae on New Album 'Let the Trap Say Amen' & The True Heart of the South," 19 June 2018 In the painting’s foreground, St. Thomas Aquinas, intellectual-in-chief of the Dominican order, holds out an open book of psalms to us like a maître-d’ offering a menu. New York Times, "Review: Art for the Soul in ‘Fra Angelico: Heaven on Earth’," 16 May 2018 Back then, the Presbyterian church permitted only more modest music — psalms only. Christina Tkacik,, "Piano 'marathon' highlights classical music's enduring appeal," 7 May 2018 Each of the three movements includes a full psalm along with contrasting parts of another. Mark Swed,, "The L.A. Phil's Bernstein and Beethoven peace project," 20 Apr. 2018 Chris Freeman To select these particular psalms, Baumgarten turned to her parents, Murray and Sheila Baumgarten, who are Judaic scholars, for help. Diana Dunbar, miamiherald, "Dance Now! Miami: A sense of tranquility and communality | Miami Herald," 17 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'psalm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of psalm

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for psalm

Middle English, from Old English psealm, from Late Latin psalmus, from Greek psalmos, literally, twanging of a harp, from psallein to pluck, play a stringed instrument

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about psalm

Dictionary Entries near psalm








Statistics for psalm

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for psalm

The first known use of psalm was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for psalm



English Language Learners Definition of psalm

: a song or poem used in worship and especially one from the Bible


\ ˈsäm How to pronounce psalm (audio) , ˈsälm\

Kids Definition of psalm

1 : a sacred song or poem
2 capitalized : one of the hymns that make up the Old Testament Book of Psalms

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on psalm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with psalm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for psalm

Spanish Central: Translation of psalm

Nglish: Translation of psalm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of psalm for Arabic Speakers

Comments on psalm

What made you want to look up psalm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!