Definitions

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

  • n. A devotional composition sung responsively as part of a liturgy.
  • n. A short liturgical text chanted or sung responsively preceding or following a psalm, psalm verse, or canticle.
  • n. Such a text formerly used as a response but now rendered independently.
  • n. A response; a reply: "It would be truer . . . to see [conservation] as an antiphon to the modernization of the 1950s and 1960s” ( Raphael Samuel).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A devotional piece of music sung responsively.
  • n. A response or reply.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A musical response; alternate singing or chanting. See antiphony, and antiphone.
  • n. A verse said before and after the psalms.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A psalm, hymn, or prayer sung responsively or by alternation of two choirs, as in the English cathedral service.
  • n. In the liturgy or mass of both the Eastern and Western churches, as well as in the day-hours and other offices, a series of verses from the Psalms or other parts of Scripture, either in their original sequence or combined from various passages, sung as a prelude or conclusion to some part of the service.
  • n. A scriptural passage or original composition sung as an independent part of the service, and set to more elaborate music; an anthem.
  • n. An echo or a response.

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

  • n. a verse or song to be chanted or sung in response

Etymologies

Late Latin antiphōna, sung responses; see anthem.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French antiphone or Medieval Latin antiphōna, from Ancient Greek ἀντίφωνα (antiphōna, "responses, musical accords"), neuter plural substantive of ἀντίφωνος (antiphōnos, "concordant") from ἀντί (anti, "in return") + φωνή (phonē, "sound"). Compare anthem. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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