Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A choral hymn sung in ancient Athens in honor of the god Dionysus.
  • n. A poem or oration in the same style.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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.

from The 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.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a wildly enthusiastic speech or piece of writing
  • n. (ancient Greece) a passionate hymn (usually in honor of Dionysus)

Etymologies

Latin dīthyrambus, from Greek dīthurambos.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The dithyramb is a chant in chorus in honour of a god or a hero.

    Initiation into Literature

  • His last letter is a kind of dithyramb about "Lohengrin," which naturally predisposes me favourably towards the man.

    Correspondence of Wagner and Liszt

  • This dithyramb had a specific provocation: “While I was at Harvard,” she wrote with grave alarm, “I saw Professors smoking cigarettes.”

    LAST CALL

  • 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.

    Fish Story

  • With that, wallow in dithyramb and eulogy, and the second edition shall vanish like smoke.

    A Distinguished Provincial at Paris

  • 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.

    Laws

  • 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.

    10/15/2006 - 10/22/2006

  • 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.

    2003 December

  • 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.

    The History of Herodotus

  • Mysians as a dithyramb in the Dorian mode, found it impossible, and fell back by the very nature of things into the more appropriate

    Politics

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A wild poem in which the poet alternates between dithering and rambling.

    (Timothy Train)

    July 23, 2008

  • 1. A frenzied, impassioned choric hymn and dance of ancient Greece in honor of Dionysus. 2. An irregular poetic expression suggestive of the ancient Greek dithyramb. 3. A wildly enthusiastic speech or piece of writing.

    May 25, 2007