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Definitions

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

  • n. A song of joyful praise or exultation.
  • n. A fervent expression of joy or praise: "The art . . . was a paean to paganism” ( Will Durant).
  • n. An ancient Greek hymn of thanksgiving or invocation, especially to Apollo.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any loud and joyous song; a song of triumph.
  • n. An enthusiastic expression of praise.
  • v. To praise.

Etymologies

Latin paeān, hymn of thanksgiving, often addressed to Apollo, from Greek paiān, from Paiā, a title of Apollo.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek παιάν. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I've always wanted to use the word paean in a post --

    Alec Saunders SquawkBox

  • Its impact on Reilly, who was at Wilson's bedside at the very end, ran much deeper, and while this work is explicitly signalled as a 'paean' - literally a song of joy or exultation - it is one etched in melancholy notes.

    Drowned In Sound // Feed

  • How else to explain Vogue editor Anna Wintour's decision this month to publish a 3,000-word paean to that "freshest and most magnetic of first ladies," Syria's Asma al-Assad?

    The Dictator's Wife Wears Louboutins

  • Barney Ronay took time out from lovingly carving 'BR+JC' into a tree-trunk to rattle out this 908-word paean to new Liverpool recruit Joe Cole.

    $tevie Says Relax, I'm Staying At Liverpool

  • The word paean – pronounced “pee-an” – is an old one that has fallen into disuse.

    And Now, A Word On My Sponsor

  • The paean was a prayer for all seasons and occasions, from war to weddings.

    The Trojan War

  • The paean was a ritual chant that the men of classical Greek armies sang as they advanced into battle, rallied, or celebrated victory.

    THE LANDMARK THUCYDIDES

  • The paean was a ritual chant that classical Greek soldiers and sailors sang as they advanced into battle, rallied, or celebrated victory.

    THE LANDMARK THUCYDIDES

  • The paean was the war chant sung by troops going into battle.

    THE LANDMARK THUCYDIDES

  • The paean is a third class of rhythm, closely akin to both the two already mentioned; it has in it the ratio of three to two, whereas the other two kinds have the ratio of one to one, and two to one respectively.

    Rhetoric

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