from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A liturgical prayer consisting of a series of petitions recited by a leader alternating with fixed responses by the congregation.
- n. A repetitive or incantatory recital: "the litany of layoffs in recent months by corporate giants” ( Sylvia Nasar).
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A ritual liturgical prayer in which a series of prayers recited by a leader are alternated with responses from the congregation.
- n. A prolonged or tedious account.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A solemn form of supplication in the public worship of various churches, in which the clergy and congregation join, the former leading and the latter responding in alternate sentences. It is usually of a penitential character.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Primarily, a solemn prayer of supplication; a public or general supplication to God, especially in processions.
- n. Specifically, in liturgics, an appointed form of responsive prayer, used as part of a service or separately. The most important varieties have been the following:
- n. Hence Any earnest supplication or prayer.
- n. The same petitions with the following versicles or prayers and responses in the litany in the English Book of Common Prayer, allowed to be omitted at discretion in the American Book.
- n. The same petitions with the following versicles and responses in the Orders for Morning and Evening Prayer.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a prayer consisting of a series of invocations by the priest with responses from the congregation
- n. any long and tedious address or recital
Middle English letanie, from Old French, from Medieval Latin letanīa, from Late Latin litanīa, from Late Greek litaneia, from Greek, entreaty, from litaneuein, to entreat, from litanos, entreating, from litē, supplication.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek λιτανεία ("prayer"), from λιτή ("prayer, entreaty"). (Wiktionary)