American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A frenzied, impassioned choric hymn and dance of ancient Greece in honor of Dionysus.
- n. An irregular poetic expression suggestive of the ancient Greek dithyramb.
- n. A wildly enthusiastic speech or piece of writing.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A form of Greek lyric composition, originally a choral song in honor of Dionysus, afterward of other gods, heroes, etc. First given artistic form by Arion (about 625 b. c.) and rendered by cyclic choruses, it was perfected, about a century later, by Lasos of Hermione, and at about the same time tragedy was developed from it in Attica. Its simpler and more majestic form, as composed by Lasos, Simonides, Bacchylides, and Pindar, assumed in the latter part of the fifth century a complexity of rhythmical and musical form and of verbal expression which degenerated in the fourth century into a mimetic performance rendered by a single artist. From these different stages in its history the word dithyramb has been used in later ages both for a nobly enthusiastic and elevated and for a wild or inflated composition. In its distinctive form the dithyramb is
ἀλλοιόστροφος(consists of a number of strophes no two of which are metrically identical).
- n. A choral hymn sung in ancient Athens in honor of the god Dionysus.
- n. A poem or oration in the same style.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A kind of lyric poetry in honor of Bacchus, usually sung by a band of revelers to a flute accompaniment; hence, in general, a poem written in a wild irregular strain.
- n. a wildly enthusiastic speech or piece of writing
- n. (ancient Greece) a passionate hymn (usually in honor of Dionysus)
- Latin dīthyrambus, from Greek dīthurambos. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The dithyramb is a chant in chorus in honour of a god or a hero.”
“His last letter is a kind of dithyramb about "Lohengrin," which naturally predisposes me favourably towards the man.”
“This dithyramb had a specific provocation: “While I was at Harvard,” she wrote with grave alarm, “I saw Professors smoking cigarettes.””
“This man was a harper second to none of those who then lived, and the first, so far as we know, who composed a dithyramb, naming it so and teaching it to a chorus at Corinth.”
“With that, wallow in dithyramb and eulogy, and the second edition shall vanish like smoke.”
“The fifth book commences in a sort of dithyramb with another and higher preamble about the honour due to the soul, whence are deduced the duties of a man to his parents and his friends, to the suppliant and stranger.”
“Besides outdoing in dithyramb what ABN does in Spanish, besides being equally forgetful of historical planning and delays, it errs quite a lot on the historical context.”
“Early in the banquet [the symposium], libations were poured to Dionysus, god of wine, and a dithyramb, a song-and-dance to the inebriating god, was beaten out.”
“This man was a harper second to none of those who then lived, and the first, so far as we know, who composed a dithyramb, naming it so and teaching it to a chorus22 at Corinth.”
“Mysians as a dithyramb in the Dorian mode, found it impossible, and fell back by the very nature of things into the more appropriate”
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