Definition of psalm in English:



  • 1A sacred song or hymn, in particular any of those contained in the biblical Book of Psalms and used in Christian and Jewish worship.

    ‘a delightful setting of Psalm 150’
    • ‘Inspired by the balance, beauty, and life-generating dynamism of creation, the psalms offer songs of praise to the Creator.’
    • ‘One of his favorite psalms, which he quoted regularly and assigned to his preaching seminar, was Psalm 90.’
    • ‘And on the Cross he cried out in agony, quoting a psalm that speaks of divine abandonment.’
    • ‘I became very attentive to the music used at Mass and collected all the responsorial psalms, hymns, and songs.’
    • ‘In leisure men should not talk of sin but they should take comfort in the psalms and songs.’
    • ‘This psalm is about marriage and family and work.’
    • ‘Although usually identified as a penitential psalm, Psalm 130 is also clearly a song of hope.’
    • ‘The entrance rite began with the choir singing an introit psalm, a full psalm.’
    • ‘We read the opening psalm in the book of Psalms and we meet there the blessed man.’
    • ‘The professor believes the musical tradition came from Scottish slave-owners who brought their religious practices and psalms with them across the Atlantic.’
    • ‘Edith remained a devoted daughter, accompanying her mother to synagogue, but reading the psalms from her missal.’
    • ‘He introduces tools for examining conscience and includes a collection of confession stories, a sermon, and related psalms.’
    • ‘His Psalm 71 is instructive for he considers the very matter of evildoing, and in psalm after psalm his recourse is in prayer to God.’
    • ‘Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works!’
    • ‘Like manna in the desert and the Eucharist, the psalm evokes the joyful knowing of God with our physical hunger.’
    • ‘Following a series of hymns and psalms at the service Deacon Dennis Sutton addressed the congregation in Italian.’
    • ‘This psalm blesses us with the promise that our lives have meaning and partake of the majesty of God.’
    • ‘The Rosary has its origins in the psalms, which monastic communities would recite as part of their daily petitions, such as psalm repetition for the deceased in purgatory.’
    • ‘Church had been pretty much a blur to her, she'd talked to the usual people listened to the sermon, sung the hymns, and read the psalms and prayers.’
    • ‘Earlier in the psalm King David compares himself to a sheep following the shepherd.’
    sacred song, hymn, song of praise, religious song, anthem, carol, chant, plainsong, canticle, antiphon, introit, prayer
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A book of the Bible comprising a collection of religious verses, sung or recited in both Jewish and Christian worship.


Old English (p)sealm, via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek psalmos ‘song sung to harp music’, from psallein ‘to pluck’.