Definition of anacreontic in US English:



  • (of a poem) written in the style of the ancient Greek poet Anacreon, known for his celebrations of love and wine.

    ‘I find anacreontic poetry to be darkly beautiful’
    • ‘In a world that was hostile to their practices and beliefs, the Anacreontic tradition will have given them a more sympathetic imaginary home.’
    • ‘The Anacreontic poems were later discovered to have been composed by a number of poets over seven centuries.’
    • ‘Tomlinson wrote the poetry of the Anacreontic song, which Stafford Smith set to music.’
    • ‘Shakespeare's last two sonnets are variations on an anacreontic epigram from The Greek Anthology.’
    • ‘Whereas constant or unrequited love had long remained the favourite subject of courtly chanson, more anacreontic, carnal, or satirical themes are exploited in the narrative anecdotes of Marot and his contemporaries.’
    • ‘This form of the Trochaic is sometimes called Anacreontic, but very erroneously, as Anacreon's metre is quite different.’


  • A poem written in the style of the ancient Greek poet Anacreon, especially one celebrating love and wine.

    ‘I began by reading aloud an anacreontic’
    • ‘Lessing's first publication was a volume of Anacreontics, as was Goethe's.’
    • ‘I began by reading aloud an anacreontic, adding to its beauties by the modulation of my voice, and keenly enjoying her pleasure at finding her work so fair.’
    • ‘Lovelace, Alexander Brome, and Edward Sherburne also composed anacreontics.’
    • ‘The whimsical drunk given to the occasional half-rhymed, fireside anacreontic is a pretty poor relation of the poet.’
    • ‘Late in life Broome returned to Greek poetry and published a verse translation of sixteen Anacreontics in several instalments in the Gentleman's Magazine.’


Early 17th century (as an adjective): from late Latin anacreonticus, from Greek Anakreōn (see Anacreon).