Definitions

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

  • n. A lyric ode in honor of a bride and bridegroom.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A song or poem celebrating a marriage.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A nuptial song, or poem in honor of the bride and bridegroom.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A nuptial song or poem; a poem in honor of a newly married person or pair, in praise of and invoking blessings upon its subject or subjects.

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

  • n. an ode honoring a bride and bridegroom

Etymologies

Latin, from Greek epithalamion, from neuter of epithalamios, of a wedding : epi-, epi- + thalamos, bridal chamber.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek ἐπιθαλάμιον, noun use of the neuter form of επιθαλαμιος ‘nuptial’, from επι− + θαλαμος ‘bridal chamber’. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Ennodius, deacon of Milan under Theodoric and later Bishop of Pavia, inveighed against the impious person who carried a statue of Minerva to a disorderly house, and himself under pretext of an "epithalamium" wrote light and trivial verses.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 9: Laprade-Mass Liturgy

  • [1] This ode is introduced in the Romance of Theodorus Prodromus, and is that kind of epithalamium which was sung like a scolium at the nuptial banquet.

    The Complete Poems of Sir Thomas Moore Collected by Himself with Explanatory Notes

  • England's current poet laureate, Andrew Motion, has contrived some well-made poems for royal occasions, most notably "Spring Wedding," a delicately turned epithalamium for Price Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles that even manages a careful allusion to the death of Princess Diana.

    Bards at the Inaugural Gates

  • It appears, from this epithalamium, that young men, before their marriage, had a favorite selected from among their slaves and that this favorite was charged with the distribution of nuts among his comrades, on the day, they in turn, treated him with contempt and hooted him.

    Satyricon

  • He sets out his son and his church in that epithalamium or mystical song of Solomon, to enamour us the more, comparing his head to fine gold, his locks curled and black as a raven, Cant. iv.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • “If your Majesty would only condescend to turn the epigram into an epithalamium?” said the Count, trying to turn the sally to good account.

    The Ball at Sceaux

  • At the end of the avenue, a select bevy of comely virgins arrayed in white, and a separate band of choice youths distinguished by garlands of laurel and holly interweaved, fell into the procession, and sung in chorus a rustic epithalamium composed by the curate.

    The Life and Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves

  • Marguerite, and threw a parchment, tied with a golden ribbon, into the princess 'litter; an epithalamium, in verse, written in her own fair hand.

    Under the Rose

  • At the marriage of Rupert's mother, the student Hampden was chosen to write the Oxford epithalamium, exulting in the prediction of some noble offspring to follow such a union.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 03, No. 20, June, 1859

  • The very insects, as they sipped the dew that gemmed the tender grass of meadows, joined in the joyous epithalamium, the virgin bud timidly put forth its blushes, "the voice of the turtle was heard in the land," and the heart of man dissolved away in tenderness.

    Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 8

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  • "No one is born a baitman, I don't think, but the rings of Saturn sing epithalamium the sea-beasts dower." -- Roger Zelazny, "The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of his Mouth"

    October 6, 2009