Word of the Day

: May 9, 2021


noun PEE-un

What It Means

1 : a joyous song or hymn of praise, tribute, thanksgiving, or triumph

2 : a work that praises or honors its subject : encomium, tribute

paean in Context

"But Thornton Wilder's 'Our Town,' set amid the mountains there, is no folksy paean to simplicity. It's a boldly experimental play about the beauty of the everyday, and human beings' tragic propensity to look right past that." — Laura Collins-Hughes, The New York Times, 6 Jan. 2021

"Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at Wharton, has a smart new book out advising us to 'Think Again,' in the words of his title. He explores in part what goes wrong when smart people are too righteous, and he offers a paean to intellectual humility." — Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, 3 Mar. 2021

Did You Know?

According to the poet Homer, the Greek god Apollo sometimes took the guise of Paean, physician to the gods. The earliest musical paeans were hymns of thanksgiving and praise that were dedicated to Apollo. They were sung at events ranging from boisterous festivals to public funerals, and they were the traditional marching songs of armies heading into battle. Over time, the word became generalized, and it is now used for any kind of tribute.

Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to complete an adjective referring to games celebrated at the ancient Greek town of Delphi every four years: P _ _ h _ _ n.



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