re·​qui·​em | \ ˈre-kwē-əm also ˈrā- or ˈrē- How to pronounce requiem (audio) \

Definition of requiem

1 : a mass for the dead
2a : a solemn chant (such as a dirge) for the repose of the dead
b : something that resembles such a solemn chant
3a : a musical setting of the mass for the dead
b : a musical composition in honor of the dead

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for requiem


dirge, elegy, lament, threnody

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of requiem in a Sentence

the choir will sing Mozart's Requiem

Recent Examples on the Web

This is vintage Morris—the mundane mingling with the majestic in a casual embrace, a regular walk quickened by Welsh military marches and stirring requiems. Danny Heitman, WSJ, "‘In My Mind’s Eye’ Review: Marching Through the Days," 4 Jan. 2019 Since then, composers of requiems have commonly mixed sacred and secular texts. Barbara Jepson, WSJ, "Benjamin Britten’s ‘War Requiem’ Review: Mixing Sacred and Secular," 30 Nov. 2018 The poignant song served as a kind of requiem reflecting the themes of death and loss sincerely depicted in the drama, and captured the hearts of viewers even before the song actually went on sale. Billboard Japan, Billboard, "Kenshi Yonezu's 'Lemon' Music Video Tops 100 Million Views," 15 June 2018 And then there are requiems that confront mortality with calmness and serenity, like those of French composers Gabriel Fauré and Maurice Duruflé. Patrick Neas, kansascity, "Kansas City Symphony Chorus’ requiem will offer a balm for the soul | The Kansas City Star," 11 May 2018 There are stormy requiems, like Mozart’s and Verdi’s, that raise the dead with thunder and earthquakes. Patrick Neas, kansascity, "Kansas City Symphony Chorus’ requiem will offer a balm for the soul | The Kansas City Star," 11 May 2018 More than 500 attended his requiem Mass at Sacred Heart Church, where Bishop Eric F. MacKenzie delivered the eulogy. Thomas Farragher,, "Paul Sullivan died in Vietnam 50 years ago. And his family has kept his memory alive ever since," 22 June 2018 This time the requiem is for the white ash tree, a once-abundant, now doomed resource that for more than a century provided northwestern Pennsylvania with industry and identity. Frank Fitzpatrick,, "Ashes of an industry: A Pennsylvania tradition is dying, one baseball bat at a time," 14 June 2018 On the program is the Missa de Profunctis, written for the requiem of King Henry IV of France. Patrick Neas, kansascity, "KC Symphony takes on a user-friendly adaptation of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle | The Kansas City Star," 24 May 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for requiem

Middle English, from Latin (first word of the introit of the requiem mass), accusative of requies rest, from re- + quies quiet, rest — more at while

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about requiem

Statistics for requiem

Last Updated

6 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for requiem

The first known use of requiem was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for requiem



English Language Learners Definition of requiem

: a Christian religious ceremony for a dead person
: a piece of music for a requiem


re·​qui·​em | \ ˈre-kwē-əm How to pronounce requiem (audio) \

Kids Definition of requiem

1 : a mass for a dead person
2 : a musical service or hymn in honor of dead people

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on requiem

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


showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!