Definition of rhapsody in English:



  • 1An effusively enthusiastic or ecstatic expression of feeling.

    ‘rhapsodies of praise’
    • ‘The ethos has little in common with that of science fiction; rather, it's a rhapsody on the miraculous benefits the Victorians were expecting their harnessing of electricity to bring to them.’
    • ‘When the same sentence is reproduced verbatim in the blurb, one feels that the book will be long on rhapsodies and short on substance.’
    • ‘A rhapsody of intricate plots emerges and, with luck, hilarity ensues.’
    • ‘This explanation for the venerable, 400-year-old vampire population of Transylvania being so numerically insignificant is, however, contradicted by Van Helsing's earlier rhapsodies on the subject.’
    • ‘It is a creation of his old age but the scintillating youthful spirit with which it sparkles inclines one to believe that the grand old man was reliving his lost youth through this romantic rhapsody of a story.’
    • ‘Curtis captures the angst of first love, the rhapsody of a first kiss and the intricacy of families.’
    • ‘A few notes from the rhapsody of praise composed in his honour in his lifetime should be enough to whet new curiosity.’
    • ‘Elsewhere, a rhapsody about Roughgarden's own experience as an embryo turns gushingly cosmic.’
    • ‘John's affairs inspire him with no heartfelt rhapsodies as did his early love for Lucy.’
    • ‘His language might at times ascend to rhapsody, yet his was an uncommonly practical approach - radical in the sense of attacking the preeminent social problem at its root, but basically conservative as to method.’
    • ‘And he is not likely to be reassured by the rhapsody in which George identifies the blessings of a triumphant single tax with ‘the city of God on earth, with its walls of jasper and its gates of pearl!’’
    • ‘The rhapsody draws a moral from the mundane machine; Zhang Shunmin sees in the mechanical movement of the mill the steady moral virtue of the scholar-official.’
    • ‘There are then slow rhapsodies about the power of art to change society - and more lame jokes.’
    • ‘There were outpourings of prejudice and hatred, fantasies of violence accompanied by curses and epithets, psychotic rhapsodies, monologues of suicide and self-mutilation.’
    • ‘This story would be highly unremarkable if not for the fact that William Gibson, author of Neuromancer and cyberpunk pioneer, wrote a little rhapsody to the Selectric type ball.’
    • ‘He's written a book called the Natural History of Australia so he knows the place very well and I found him at the Darwin Museum with a remarkable fish and rhapsodies about the Adelaide River.’
    • ‘Some of the most interesting parts early in the movie occur when Varda moves away from the bohemian rhapsody, and follows Clarke, as she is guided through late 1960s LA in a taxi, allowing Varda's documentary instinct to kick in.’
    • ‘I could go on at length about how great he is and how well the relationship works but I'll spare you the rhapsodies.’
    • ‘Kuerten sends the Parisian crowd into rhapsody by winning the longest rally of the match with a thrilling forehand pass.’
    • ‘Mr. Kumar has been able to capture the rhapsody of colours of Nature in full bloom.’
    elation, euphoria, exultation, exaltation, joy, happiness, delight, joyousness, jubilation, rapture, ecstasy, bliss, rhapsody
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Music A free instrumental composition in one extended movement, typically one that is emotional in character.
      ‘Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies’
      • ‘Being Sunday, several families were on the Necklace Road to take in the classical rhapsodies.’
      • ‘Wider success came with the orchestral rhapsody España, composed after a visit to Spain in 1882, which remains his best-known work.’
      • ‘The strange songs he would sing during his morning shower were a constant source of bemusement to all who had the luxury of hearing his rhapsody.’
      • ‘Small's score turns into a gloppy Middle-European rhapsody as she walks into the old man's office in a shining black metallic gown and feather boa.’
      • ‘As in the rhapsody, Hadley's music makes its subject appear with utter clarity in the mind's eye.’
      elation, happiness, joy, joyousness, delight, glee, excitement, exhilaration, animation, jubilation, exultation
      View synonyms
  • 2(in ancient Greece) an epic poem, or part of a poem, of a suitable length for recitation at one time.

    • ‘Write a cycle of business poems - a rhapsody to measurable results.’
    • ‘I had translations of the old Mongolian rhapsodies and epodes in English, French, Italian, and German.’
    • ‘There is more to be found in the rhapsody's orality, in archaisms and the atavistic language, in orality and folklore, in clerical-juggleresque rhetoric.’


Mid 16th century (in rhapsody): via Latin from Greek rhapsōidia, from rhaptein to stitch + ōidē song, ode.