Definition of hymn in English:



  • 1A religious song or poem of praise to God or a god.

    ‘a Hellenistic hymn to Apollo’
    • ‘They should be ‘words’ that can't be easily guessed, like acronyms referring to hymns, praise songs, or verses.’
    • ‘Therefore, in the long run, the descriptive praise of the hymns becomes praise that is only response to a human call to praise.’
    • ‘These might be orchestral interludes or the religious hymns, but they form more contemplative passages, balancing the dialogue.’
    • ‘In Adhyatma Ramayana, Narada, in his hymn to Sri Rama, says that males of all species are Rama and females are Sita.’
    • ‘This hymn praises the Savior who stands over all creation and through whom all things, tapanta, are created and all things are held together.’
    • ‘Wine and even drunkenness are frequent images in medieval hymns and other religious poems.’
    • ‘Every day, take one of the hymns of praise in Revelation and make it a central part of your prayer.’
    • ‘It sounds uncommonly like a means of mass-producing aesthetic intensities of the sort hymned at the close of Pater's Renaissance.’
    • ‘Rig-Veda Samhita is the oldest of the four vedas and consists of 1028 hymns praising the ancient gods.’
    • ‘In all four Vedas, there are references to women ascetics reciting Vedic hymns and even creating mantras.’
    • ‘It is this priority of visions, hymns, and poems that leads me to the Apocalypse of John for this second study.’
    • ‘Sage Agasthya taught Lord Rama the Aditya Hridayam, the hymn to Lord Surya when he felt fatigued during the battle with Ravana.’
    • ‘It is a massive hymn in the Byzantine Rite, in praise of the Virgin Mary.’
    • ‘Author of five books, he has also compiled an equal number, including ‘Arul Maalai’, containing devotional hymns and articles on religion.’
    • ‘Poems and hymns of the Hebrew people are expressed in Psalms.’
    • ‘The Rig Veda is a collection of hymns praising the gods and glorifying the conquests and the heroics of the aristocratic Aryan cult.’
    • ‘She had a consistent gratitude for God's goodness; many of her poems and hymns capture her sense of the presence of God.’
    • ‘All that the documents talk about are pesah banquets with wine, good food, and hymns of praise to God.’
    • ‘During that powerful event, Sri Rudram, a much-revered propitiatory hymn to Lord Siva from the Yajur Veda, was chanted in unison 1,331 times.’
    • ‘What I couldn't do then and couldn't do for thirty years was the first line of the first poem, the hymn to Aphrodite.’
    • ‘As you think about Jesus' goodness to you in prayer today, try writing your own hymn or prayer of praise.’
    religious song, anthem, song of praise, canticle, chorale, psalm, carol, chant
    antiphon, introit, doxology, spiritual, paean, plainsong
    lay, miserere
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    1. 1.1A formal song sung during Christian worship, typically by the whole congregation.
      ‘the traditional Easter hymn of rejoicing’
      • ‘That passage is said in the context of a hymn of praise.’
      • ‘I used to feel good when I went to the local Congregational Church and sang hymns.’
      • ‘The Bible Club members sit on a plastic sheet, wearing religious placards and singing hymns.’
      • ‘Both sat weeping with their heads bowed when after a service of hymns, prayers and poems, Robbie Williams's song Angels was performed.’
      • ‘In the Christian tradition, hymns are songs of worship, sung by congregation and choir.’
      • ‘Protestants and other Christians have made wide use of secular sources for their hymn tunes and religious music.’
      • ‘Were they preludes to a hymn sung by a congregation, and, if so, commoners in a parish church or gentry in a court chapel?’
      • ‘The congregation sang the hymns to the accompaniment of organiser Ita Fitzpatrick.’
      • ‘The conference opened with selected hymns designed to encourage hymn singing in Nigerian churches.’
      • ‘Women participated in the singing of hymns, preaching in religious gatherings without any distinction.’
      • ‘It was a dignified service, the hymns sung by the congregation with increasing emotion.’
      • ‘So often congregation members take sides over how to offer Christian education or when to sing a hymn.’
      • ‘It was especially heart-warming to sing hymns and songs of praise with so many people.’
      • ‘A few feet away, a group of priests, nuns and Protestant ministers sang hymns while they waited to be removed.’
      • ‘In the structure of the hymn, praise is response in the sense of being a congregational response to a call to worship.’
      • ‘Our part of the programme entails the traditional bit of hymn singing in church.’
      • ‘The congregation also sang the hymns Lord Of All Hopefulness and Abide With Me, and heard clips of Peel speaking in a variety of radio broadcasts.’
      • ‘Through our hymns of praise, help us to celebrate the promises of your acceptance, love, and forgiveness.’
      • ‘Unlike other funerals of known ANC leaders which are dominated by freedom songs, a church choir sang hymns for the activist.’
      • ‘When Humayan arrived, Guru Angad and the congregation were absorbed in singing religious hymns.’
    2. 1.2A book, film, or other composition praising someone or something.
      ‘the film is a hymn to blue-collar mateyness’
      • ‘It centers around the slain but risen Lamb, and climaxes in a great hymn to the Paschal Lamb.’
      • ‘One of my favorite books is an extended hymn of praise to French food, wine and general attitude toward the pleasant things in life.’
      • ‘These portraits lent them a near iconic dimension, recording a pictorial hymn in their praise for posterity.’
      • ‘Here, Earle lets guitar, harmonica, and drums roll out a vibrant hymn to hope.’
      • ‘The lucky fools should be taking heart from the theme of the song, a hymn to love for its own sake, regardless of its object.’
      • ‘Don Quixote is a monument to absurdity, a hymn to the inspiration and futility of the romantic anti-hero.’
      • ‘Time After Time is an extended hymn to nature and indigenous traditions, across three continents.’
      • ‘More precisely, the film is a hymn to the theatricality implicit in most love affairs: their deceptive art and sweet fraudulence.’
      • ‘It is likely that you will join in the author's song with joy and wholeheartedly endorse the great hymn to eco-feminism with which chapter fifteen concludes.’
      • ‘It is a hymn to the unanticipated and the miraculous and to the sustaining potential of faith and hope in life itself.’
      • ‘Earth has guessed much and rhythms the hymn behind the world in the stroke of her waves.’
      • ‘Not two weeks ago these people were composing hymns to the separation of powers.’
      • ‘Will Hutton's new book is a hymn of praise to Europe.’
      • ‘He picks up the same musical motif again after his hymn to love.’


  • 1[with object] Praise (something)

    ‘the joys of domesticity were being hymned in magazines’
    • ‘Widowed, and with a little child, he felt violent pangs of transient remorse, and hymned his dead wife in vintage Nineties poet's minor melody.’
    • ‘With the Plame case, it is tempting to hymn the security services, and their hard work in discovering WMD.’
    • ‘Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own affectingly hymns the singer's late father, pulling back from mawkishness.’
    • ‘He hymns the progress of the year just past and the minty weight of new policies waiting for examination.’
    • ‘Remote antiquity, hymned by the tribe's poet, is revered, and the future feared as it may bring catastrophe or even annihilation.’
    • ‘Knox, safe in Frankfurt with the ‘Marian exiles’, lashed The Monstrous Regiment [rule] of Women and hymned the martyrs to Mary Tudor's fanaticism.’
    • ‘The finale optimistically hymns the progress of humankind.’
    • ‘Having hymned the nation's maritime glories, Wilson asked what he meant to be a purely rhetorical question: ‘And why am I saying all this?’’
    • ‘Last year they spoofed Lord of the Rings, mastered hip-hop and hymned the robot revolution - all on acoustic guitars.’
    • ‘We want to hymn the man at the wheel, who hurls the lance of his spirit across the Earth, along the circle of its orbit.’
    • ‘For example, they did not often gather together with harps and rebecks to celebrate their national glories, or to hymn their national heroes.’
    • ‘As rations dwindled, she sustained herself by hymning the consolations of good food.’
    • ‘Our problem is that we no longer see holiness in its particulars, in practices like marriage or work that he hymns over and again in his writing.’
    • ‘Today, the hymning of mental frailty has significantly reduced the stigma of idleness.’
    • ‘Already enamoured of the small Canadian town, he began to hymn its praises in verse which he read to public gatherings.’
    • ‘Modesty, stoicism, self-restraint and resilience: these are endangered virtues, and I want to hymn them.’
    • ‘For many centuries, he has been a comfortably rotund elephant-headed god hymned at the beginning of enterprises.’
    praise, applaud, cheer, commend, express approval of, approve, express admiration for, welcome, pay tribute to, speak highly of, eulogize, compliment, congratulate, celebrate, sing the praises of, praise to the skies, rave about, go into raptures about, go into raptures over, heap praise on, wax lyrical about, say nice things about, make much of, pat on the back, take one's hat off to, salute, throw bouquets at, lionize, exalt, admire, hail, toast, flatter, adulate, vaunt, extol, glorify, honour, hymn, clap
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  • 2rare [no object] Sing hymns.

    ‘they were hymning to their god’
    • ‘There were Victorian songs of stilted enthusiasm for the innocence and clear sunny skies of the new country, hymned in the English art song idiom.’
    • ‘All set for the kindling of the sacred fire, we hymn you, O Lord, with our verses, invoking your powerful grace.’


Old English, via Latin from Greek humnos ode or song in praise of a god or hero, used in the Septuagint to translate various Hebrew words, and hence in the New Testament and other Christian writings.