Definition of requiem in English:



  • 1(especially in the Roman Catholic Church) a Mass for the repose of the souls of the dead.

    ‘a requiem was held for the dead queen’
    as modifier ‘a requiem mass’
    • ‘The title of one of Baudelaire's poems, ‘De profondis clamavi,’ refers to the requiem Mass so that this ceremony is certainly within his ken.’
    • ‘Those who have taken their own lives while of sound mind, however, would normally be denied a Christian burial and requiems.’
    • ‘These minor foundations existed to sing masses for the souls of their benefactors; as such, they encouraged beliefs in purgatory and the merits of requiems, doctrines which Protestants denied.’
    • ‘It's really a dark piece of work, pretty much driven by Mozart's guilt over his father's death; in a lot of ways, I think it prefigures his requiem mass; a big, black truckload of woe.’
    • ‘Might this Bote be the shadowy messenger who came to Mozart's door, not long before the composer's death, to request a requiem mass?’
    • ‘For example, the first movement, ‘Introitus,’ uses the opening movement to the requiem mass with its reference to ‘lux perpetua luceat eis.’’
    • ‘Thus, as at all occasions in our family, happy or sad, Olga, Mrs Turner, Babushka and Nadeja congregated, in between the requiems, to arrange every minor detail of the funeral.’
    • ‘Also, the apocalyptic vistas of the requiem mass were foreign to Poulenc's artistic temperament.’
    • ‘Classical composers would write a requiem mass, and the audience would instantly have a framework of life and death, God and man, to work within.’
    funeral poem, funeral song, burial hymn, lament, dirge, plaint, keening
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    1. 1.1 A musical composition setting parts of a requiem Mass, or of a similar character.
      ‘Fauré's Requiem’
      • ‘Verdi, of course, started with the ‘Libera me’ as his contribution to a collaborative requiem for Rossini.’
      • ‘The composer writes that ‘it is not a requiem, but an ode to a soul at play amidst birds and rainbow in the sky.’’
      • ‘Structured as a musical requiem, the score, as well Brian Emrich's soundscape, envelopes the action, making strong use of the audio landscape.’
      • ‘You might also hear similarities to Duruflé's requiem, since the lines, mainly modal, share a family look with Gregorian chant.’
      • ‘‘Ergh’ says the unfortunate sap listening to said requiem.’
      • ‘For the next forty (yes forty!) days, there are more requiems, prayers and recitals of psalms until there is a Divine Liturgy held, such as on the day of the funeral.’
      • ‘Right from a very young age, she was exposed to church music - masses, requiems by different composers.’
      • ‘Normally, when performed by an orchestra and a full-sized chorus, this requiem is pretty imposing stuff, even if Brahms was careful to ensure that it remained both human and humane.’
      • ‘Musical settings of the requiem may be very public (Berlioz's, for example), or almost painfully private.’
      • ‘The electronics are jarring, perhaps even misplaced, but one must remember that this piece is a requiem for a 16-year-old boy, not a 65-year-old man.’
      • ‘Let's hope that classical music in North America is not yet ready for a requiem!’
      • ‘His next project, to be unveiled at Salzburg this summer, is that most old-fashioned of musical forms, a requiem.’
      • ‘The task of composing a unified ‘Dies irae’ made Poulenc shy from a full requiem.’
      • ‘In 1987 Clifton published Next: New Poems, most of which are constructed as ‘sorrow songs ‘or requiems.’’
      • ‘Rieter subsequently published several of Brahms's works, most notably the German requiem, which was composed in part in 1866, while visiting Rieter in Winterthur.’
      • ‘His first great success, The Confession of Isobel Gowdie, which was acclaimed at its Proms premiere in 1990, was a requiem for a Catholic victim of a Protestant witch-hunt.’
      • ‘This haunting requiem for both those murdered in a high school massacre, and for the killers themselves, is blessedly free of ironic distance or cheap stereotyping of adolescence.’
      • ‘We could easily have all requiems re-titled as ‘sad tunes from great guys’ or ‘farewell fantasies from fabulous figures’.’
      • ‘Britten could not have had access to his earlier score when composing the War requiem some 20 years later, and it must remain a matter of conjecture whether the similarities are deliberate or just coincidental.’
      • ‘A requiem written by Brahms on the death of his mother distils yearning, bereavement, knowledge that this world is transient - yet so, also, will be his grief.’
      lament, dirge, elegy, funeral chant, funeral song, burial hymn, dead march, keen, plaint, knell
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    2. 1.2 An act or token of remembrance.
      ‘he designed the epic as a requiem for his wife’
      • ‘Millennium Mambo is both a requiem for the past and, to paraphrase Vicky's narration, ‘a celebration of the new millennium.’’
      • ‘There is a haunting beauty to Esther Parada's ‘When the Bough Breaks,’ her potent multimedia requiem to the American elm, which has all but vanished from the urban landscape due to Dutch elm disease.’
      • ‘His latest book is a collection of his writings, which as you'd guess from its title, Jazz and Its Discontents, is almost a requiem for jazz.’
      • ‘Some say the fallen tree began to shudder and sing a requiem for all the slaughtered, innocent multitudes.’
      • ‘This quartet featured a stunning, slashing, angry modern-dance dialogue between two dancers, then a requiem for fallen comrades.’
      • ‘The dream-like quality of the images evokes the past and sings a requiem for a child in a family.’
      • ‘I'd like to try to correct or balance this tendency by writing a sort of requiem for these Great Men or Dead White Males.’
      • ‘Kim began her mask project in 1995 when she was searching for her own way of expressing a requiem for the thousands of people killed in the Great Hanshin Earthquake that devastated Kobe.’
      • ‘Perhaps the emotion expressed here is in part a requiem for Jobim, the inventor of bossa, who died from cancer in his fifties.’
      • ‘The work was to become his requiem, and his suicide note.’
      • ‘The performance artists who staged the requiem for communism in Berlin were well aware of the sexual politics that have attended the crisis in socialism over the past twenty years.’


Middle English: from Latin (first word of the Mass), accusative of requies ‘rest’.