Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Christianity A liturgical prayer consisting of a series of petitions recited by a leader alternating with fixed responses by the congregation.
  • noun A repetitive recital, series, or list.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Primarily, a solemn prayer of supplication; a public or general supplication to God, especially in processions.
  • noun 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:
  • noun Hence Any earnest supplication or prayer.
  • noun 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.
  • noun The same petitions with the following versicles and responses in the Orders for Morning and Evening Prayer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A ritual liturgical prayer in which a series of prayers recited by a leader are alternated with responses from the congregation.
  • noun A prolonged or tedious account.

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

  • noun a prayer consisting of a series of invocations by the priest with responses from the congregation
  • noun any long and tedious address or recital

Etymologies

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

[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.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek λιτανεία ("prayer"), from λιτή ("prayer, entreaty").

Examples

Comments

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  • A litany of prettiness and pettiness too,

    it seems like every second second we come up with something new!

    September 11, 2008

  • "Bo Knows" which envisioned Jackson attempting to take up a litany of other sports

    January 11, 2011

  • "After going through the litany, which Alcide showed me in the Prayer Book, the priest asked if anyone would like to say a few words about Colonel Flood."-Dead as a Doornail, by Charlaine Harris

    May 19, 2011