threnody

play
noun thren·o·dy \ˈthre-nə-dē\

Definition of threnody

plural

threnodies

  1. :  a song of lamentation for the dead :  elegy

threnody was our Word of the Day on 11/13/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of threnody in a Sentence

  1. the composer's cello concerto was composed as a moving threnody for his late wife

Recent Examples of threnody from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Threnody encompasses all genres. There are great threnodies in prose (such as the lines from Charles Dickens’ Bleak House upon the death of Little Jo: "Dead, your Majesty. Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead…."), in poetry (as in W. H. Auden’s "Funeral Blues": "The stars are not wanted now: put out every one, / Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun…."), and in music (Giovanni Pergolesi’s "Stabat Mater," for one). Threnody, which we borrowed from the Greek word thrēnōidia (from thrēnos, the word for "dirge"), has survived in English since the early 1600s. Melody, tragedy, and comedy are related to threnody through the Greek root that forms their ending-aeidein, which means "to sing."

Origin and Etymology of threnody

Greek thrēnōidia, from thrēnos dirge + aeidein to sing — more at drone, ode


THRENODY Defined for English Language Learners

threnody

play
noun

Definition of threnody for English Language Learners

  • : a song or poem that expresses sorrow for someone who is dead


Learn More about threnody


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

set in a bent position

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Emoji Quiz

  • emoji-the-quiz
  • What phase of the moon is this: 🌖 ?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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