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

  • n. A short, simple series of syllables or words that are sung on or intoned to the same note or a limited range of notes.
  • n. A canticle or prayer sung or intoned in this manner.
  • n. A song or melody.
  • n. A monotonous rhythmic call or shout, as of a slogan: the chant of the crowd at the rally.
  • transitive v. To sing or intone to a chant: chant a prayer.
  • transitive v. To celebrate in song: chanting a hero's deeds.
  • transitive v. To say in the manner of a chant: chanted defiant slogans.
  • intransitive v. To sing, especially in the manner of a chant: chanted while a friend jumped rope.
  • intransitive v. To speak monotonously.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To sing, especially without instruments, and as applied to monophonic and pre-modern music.
  • n. Type of singing done generally without instruments and harmony.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To utter with a melodious voice; to sing.
  • transitive v. To celebrate in song.
  • transitive v. To sing or recite after the manner of a chant, or to a tune called a chant.
  • intransitive v. To make melody with the voice; to sing.
  • intransitive v. To sing, as in reciting a chant.
  • n. Song; melody.
  • n. A short and simple melody, divided into two parts by double bars, to which unmetrical psalms, etc., are sung or recited. It is the most ancient form of choral music.
  • n. A psalm, etc., arranged for chanting.
  • n. Twang; manner of speaking; a canting tone.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To sing; warble; utter with a melodious voice.
  • To celebrate in song: as, to chant the praises of Jehovah.
  • To sing, as in the church service, in a style between air and recitative. See chant, n.
  • To sing; make melody with the voice.
  • To sing psalms, canticles, etc., as in the church service, after the manner of a chant.
  • To go in full cry: said of hounds.
  • n. A vocal melody; a song; especially, now, one that is solemn, slow, or monotonous.
  • n. Specifically— A melody composed in the Ambrosian or Gregorian style, following one of the ecclesiastical modes, having often a note for each syllable, and without a strict rhythmical structure: sometimes called a tone; when used in contrapuntal composition, called a canto fermo. A Gregorian melody, usually of ancient origin, intended to be used with a prose text in several verses, several syllables in each verse being recited or intoned upon a single note. A Gregorian chant of this kind has five parts: the intonation, the first dominant or reciting-note, the mediation, the second dominant or reciting-note, and the ending or cadence. A short composition in seven measures, the first and fourth of which contain but one note, whose time-value may be extended at will so as to accompany several syllables or words, while the remaining measures are sung in strict rhythm: commonly called an Anglican chant, because most extensively used in the services of the Anglican Church for the canticles and the psalms. An Anglican chant consists of two parts, the first of three and the second of four measures; each half begins with a reciting-note and ends with a cadence; the first cadence is also called the mediation. A double chant is equal in length to two typical or single chants, that is, contains fourteen measures, four reciting-notes, etc. The distribution of the words of a text for use with a chant is called pointing (which see). The Anglican chant is probably a modernized form of the Gregorian, without an intonation, having the mediation and cadence made strictly rhythmical, and following the modern ideas of tonality and harmony, Any short composition one or more of whose notes may be extended at will so as to accompany several syllables or words.
  • n. Formerly also spelled chaunt.

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

  • v. utter monotonously and repetitively and rhythmically
  • n. a repetitive song in which as many syllables as necessary are assigned to a single tone
  • v. recite with musical intonation; recite as a chant or a psalm


Probably from French, song, from Old French, from Latin cantus, from past participle of canere, to sing. V., from Middle English chaunten, to sing, from Old French chanter, from Latin cantāre, frequentative of canere; see kan- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French chanter, from Latin cantō ("to sing") (Wiktionary)



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  • "6. To go in full cry: said of hounds." --CD

    April 13, 2011

  • I chant a new chant of dilation or pride ... Whitman, Song of Myself

    December 9, 2006