rhap·​so·​dy | \ˈrap-sə-dē \
plural rhapsodies

Definition of rhapsody 

1 : a portion of an epic poem adapted for recitation

2 archaic : a miscellaneous collection

3a(1) : a highly emotional utterance

(2) : a highly emotional literary work

(3) : effusively rapturous or extravagant discourse

b : rapture, ecstasy

4 : a musical composition of irregular form having an improvisatory character

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Examples of rhapsody in a Sentence

The mayor launched into a long rhapsody about his plans for the city. listening to Mozart always left him in a rhapsody that lingered for the remainder of the evening

Recent Examples on the Web

In a show built on rhapsodies of food, the appreciation for his nightmarish toil is notably muted. Kanishk Tharoor, The Atlantic, "Anthony Bourdain’s Extreme Empathy," 10 June 2018 Only Tennessee Williams, an early influence, summons a cultural past with such a plangent mix of rhapsody and disgust. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: ‘He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box,’ Adrienne Kennedy’s Beautiful Nightmare," 30 Jan. 2018 The section on the tablet comes from the Odyssey’s 14th rhapsody, which depicts the hero Odysseus’ adventures after the fall of Troy. Laignee Barron, Time, "Archaeologists Find What Could be the Oldest Written Record of Homer's 'Odyssey'," 11 July 2018 Both writers quote Michel de Montaigne, who wrote extensively about mortality in the 16th century — Riggs, in fact, prefers his crankiness over her great-great-great-grandfather’s rhapsodies. Gayle Brandeis, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘The Bright Hour,’ by Nina Riggs and ‘The Art of Death,’ by Edwidge Danticat," 18 Jan. 2018 Navigator color packages are meant to create specific moods with options including rhapsody blue, ebony, cappuccino, dark slate, iced mocha and chroma molten gold. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "2018 Lincoln Navigator: Insanely hot seller — even at $100K," 2 Mar. 2018 Gorka seems to tailor his answer to the situation, which could indicate that his rhapsody on Trump's instinct is spin. Callum Borchers, Washington Post, "‘Relax. It’s okay’: How Breitbart is trying to reassure Trump supporters," 1 Sep. 2017 Bohemian rhapsody: Artist Alex Beard fills a Garden District manse with art, heirlooms and curiosities Alex Beard's life seems conjured from a Wes Anderson film. Andrew Boyd, NOLA.com, "How to make Slime with 4 easy ingredients," 10 Oct. 2017 Listen to the rhapsodies of Gershwin, chamber music, and piano concertos of Rachmaninoff at the Sarasota Music Festival. Susan Friedman, Orlando Signature, "June Around the State," 19 May 2017

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

1542, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rhapsody

Latin rhapsodia, from Greek rhapsōidia recitation of selections from epic poetry, rhapsody, from rhapsōidos rhapsodist, from rhaptein to sew, stitch together + aidein to sing — more at ode

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Statistics for rhapsody

Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for rhapsody

The first known use of rhapsody was in 1542

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More Definitions for rhapsody



English Language Learners Definition of rhapsody

: a piece of music that is meant to express a lot of emotion and does not have a regular form

: a written or spoken expression of great enthusiasm, praise, etc.

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More from Merriam-Webster on rhapsody

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rhapsody

Spanish Central: Translation of rhapsody

Nglish: Translation of rhapsody for Spanish Speakers

Comments on rhapsody

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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