Definition of chant in US English:



  • 1A repeated rhythmic phrase, typically one shouted or sung in unison by a crowd.

    • ‘Shouts and chants went up from the crowd as the lights drifted nearer.’
    • ‘The rhythmic chant spread through the crowd of hundreds of thousands that filled Kiev's Independence Square on the evening of November 22.’
    • ‘Concluding his speech, he led the crowd in a chant of ‘Crack down on corporate crime.’’
    • ‘Pupils at a North Yorkshire school will be able to shout football chants in 10 languages by the end of the week.’
    • ‘The sunlight shone across us as we repeated the pundit's chants.’
    • ‘He says he's more than just an activist repeating a familiar chant.’
    • ‘We arrived about two hours early, and listened to various crowd chants.’
    • ‘On February 15, I was out there with everyone else, signs held high and chants shouted.’
    • ‘The 300 or so demonstrators were in a good mood, laughing, waving signs and banners, beating home-made drums, and, thank goodness, shouting some new chants.’
    • ‘Brass bands playing patriotic and national folk songs and Lebanon's national anthem were regularly drowned out by deafening chants from the crowd.’
    • ‘Angry townspeople protested in the streets following the explosion, shouting anti-government chants and tossing rocks at security forces.’
    • ‘He heard the crowd's chants for Cutler and it put fear in his heart.’
    • ‘And then they are off again, singing and repeating the chant over and over.’
    • ‘They can empty their pockets buying horns and noisemakers, singing songs, waving flags and shouting chants as if it is 1970.’
    • ‘A chant ran through the crowd as the World Cup was brought onto the filed.’
    • ‘York City football club in England has come up with a novel way of egging on the team: playing crowd chants taped from previous matches.’
    • ‘One year, they brought mini-American flags to wave at the opening parade; another year, they shouted cheerleader chants at the first tee.’
    • ‘They repeatedly led the crowd in a chant of ‘sign the bill!’’
    • ‘I do not complain when the Montreal crowds start the chants but when it's Toronto I feel that they should really just sit down and shut up.’
    • ‘He was forced to flee the meeting hall under police escort as angry teachers shouted him down with chants of ‘liar, liar, liar’ and flung empty drink bottles from the gallery.’
    shout, cry, slogan, rallying call, war cry, chorus, chanting
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    1. 1.1 A monotonous or repetitive song, typically an incantation or part of a ritual.
      • ‘Mr Brown had taught at Tolaga Bay and was able to teach his pupils Maori songs, chants, poi dances and a haka.’
      • ‘She has made several subsequent recordings of devotional songs and chants.’
      • ‘In a similar manner, if we meditate with chants, mantras, or visualizations, we may use these as a way to distance ourselves from our more usual, problematic experience.’
      • ‘He gets louder and louder as he repeats the words of the chant.’
      • ‘Zekhr is a meditative chant which repeats the name of Allah and his attributes, in order to bring one to a state of union with the Divine.’
      • ‘SiBhaca dance is performed by teams of men, and features stomping of feet in unisom while chanting rhythmic traditional chants.’
      • ‘An assembly of 90 monks conducted Buddhist ritual chants and prayers sanctifying the ceremony.’
      • ‘Marshall also witnessed the Big Drum dance in Carriacou, a spiritual ritual that involves chants, fire, dancing and song.’
      • ‘Groups of men sing trance-like chants to accompany belly dances.’
      • ‘Nine monks then performed the prayers and chants which continued the ritual and sanctified this auspicious occasion.’
      • ‘Around the temple are other structures in ruins and clearly this was once a township throbbing with pilgrims and the chant of mantras.’
      • ‘There are specific songs and chants (some composed by Batten herself), recommended foods and decorations, and selected poetry.’
      • ‘The strains of music played from shops, which were previously only allowed to sell religious chants or martial songs.’
      • ‘They called to the sun, through sacred songs and chants, to grant them power, luck, or success.’
      • ‘Since sickness is often seen as a problem of spiritual essence, the khwan, chants, and healing rituals are often used to cure illnesses.’
      • ‘Bakai songs and chants are in effect spells otherwise employed in love magic.’
      • ‘‘I remember experimenting back then with combinations of blues songs and Sanskrit chants,’ she says.’
      • ‘He went on, his words a chant, and I closed my eyes and only listened.’
      • ‘The Pipe Carriers, as the chiefs are called, joined the rites, honoring the Anchorage Hindu community with songs and chants.’
      • ‘She attempted in these works to capture the rhythmic, temporal chants of the Ladakh monastery.’
      incantation, intonation, recitation, singing, song, recitative, mantra
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  • 2Music
    A short musical passage in two or more phrases used for singing unmetrical words; a psalm or canticle sung to such music.

    • ‘Although I enjoy chants and church music quite a bit, I had not, for some time, felt the need to attend a church service.’
    • ‘The first part consists of an antiphonal chant from the Service for the Thursday Preceding Good Friday.’
    • ‘At Milan, where at first he used to come to the cathedral to admire Ambrose's oratorical skill, he found himself not only impressed by the content of the discourses but also gripped by the psalm chants.’
    • ‘Contrast was provided by alternating choral chant with passages sung by soloists.’
    • ‘Perhaps as a moralizing subtext, Alexander piped in a recording of a monastic chant of Psalm 51, a prayer for the remission of sins.’
    1. 2.1 The style of music consisting of chants.
      ‘Gregorian chant’
      • ‘Symphony No 3 is a more expansive, more fully developed piece which emerged from a protracted period of study of chant and early polyphony.’
      • ‘It's a style that characterises Byzantine chant, which emerged in the Eastern Church, and is continued in today's Greek Orthodox tradition.’
      • ‘We must simply accept a phenomenon whereby the sheer beauty of sound in medieval chant has swept so many off their feet.’
      • ‘A noted musicologist whose interests include chant, medieval music and Tudor keyboard music, he has written many chamber and choral pieces.’
      • ‘He commented that he enjoys singing earlier music particularly, and mentioned chant specifically.’


[with object]
  • 1Say or shout repeatedly in a singsong tone.

    ‘protesters were chanting slogans’
    with direct speech ‘the crowd chanted, “No violence!”’
    • ‘Marty was obviously very proud when he was announced the winner, as was the crowd as they chanted his name.’
    • ‘There was a truck load of guys singing and chanting and another jeep of young girls in white national dress singing as well.’
    • ‘Eddie faded slowly to his knees but fought back as the crowd chanted his name.’
    • ‘When the action gets good, the crowd chants in unison, fists pumping in the air.’
    • ‘As the bands play, militant hippies outside, balking at the $14 admission price, chant for free music and clash bloodily with police.’
    • ‘The children formed a circle around her and began to chant the familiar hide-and-seek song.’
    • ‘They come chanting songs, beating drums, blowing horns and whistling to spur on their heroes.’
    • ‘About two dozen teenage supporters were heard chanting and shouting abusive language throughout the first half.’
    • ‘The massive crowd of workers chanted calls for a national strike.’
    • ‘Republican slogans were chanted and around 20 protesters attempted to hold a sit-down protest in the middle of the street.’
    • ‘A gang was on the street, shouting, chanting and fighting among themselves.’
    • ‘They really are better at wearing the ribbons and badges, chanting the slogans and marching on the demonstrations.’
    • ‘The young people joined in with the rest of the huge crowd singing and chanting all of the famous football songs and anthems.’
    • ‘The workers chanted anti-government slogans and condemned the rise in the cost of living.’
    • ‘The crowd is still chanting his name, but he slips off and sleeps on the way back to London.’
    • ‘Some brandished sticks, banners and fists, others chanted slogans.’
    • ‘At recess, the teacher found a group of her girls chanting that slogan on the playground.’
    • ‘The protesting employees carried placards and chanted anti-government slogans.’
    • ‘He held his lead as the crowd chanted his name but could not prevent the inevitable as the older, stronger and more experienced man broke again.’
    • ‘Young rebels chanted slogans such as ‘Don't give in to the authorities - make them give in to you’.’
    shout, sing, chorus, carol
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    1. 1.1 Sing or intone (a psalm, canticle, or sacred text).
      • ‘A monk will be hired to chant some Buddhist scriptures and perform a simple ceremony at the morgue instead of at a funeral parlor.’
      • ‘Tibetan monks will go around Paoma Mountain on the edge of the city to chant scriptures.’
      • ‘A yellow, smoky light filtered through as the priest chanted the opening prayers and made the sign of the cross.’
      • ‘Masses of people chanted prayers and made offerings to prepare for the first bath today.’
      • ‘They sing devotional songs in praise of the lord, and holy texts are chanted throughout the night.’
      • ‘Sound boxes blare devotional numbers, priests chant mantras and, as evening descends, one can find people of all ages flocking the pandals.’
      • ‘People were still chanting part of the confession of faith in a mosque close to his parents' house.’
      • ‘In this ceremony which literally means joining of hands the bride's right hand is placed on that of the groom whilst the priest chants holy verses.’
      • ‘They include an introduction to the history of the office, helpful instructions on to pray the office, and even guidance on how to chant the psalms.’
      • ‘The husband or wife chants a song of praise and lamentation (mourning).’
      • ‘Nevertheless, it is customary for newlyweds to attend the local monastery later for a blessing and a simple ceremony in which texts are chanted.’
      • ‘He wears a prayer shawl, chants a pilgrimage psalm, and says a blessing in Hebrew.’
      • ‘Cultures which chant their canonical texts have a natural tendency to develop at least two kinds of chanting.’
      • ‘As the rabbi chants songs of mourning, Liz's casket is moved to a special area of the cemetery dedicated to terror victims.’
      • ‘Participants were required to bring their Bibles to the services, where they would read passages and chant along with the pastor.’
      • ‘The Guru's followers were not required to chant Sanskrit hymns before stone idols, but sang hymns composed by the Guru himself in their mother-tongue.’
      • ‘If the death is a long prolonged death, then we like to chant certain texts, so that the dying person hears the name of God recited constantly.’
      • ‘He cleansed the water, scattered consecrated herbs, and chanted ancient incantations.’
      • ‘Priests chanted prayers and read from sacred texts as incense wafted from the corners of the temple.’
      • ‘Then we begin stripping the altar and the entire chancel while the choir and the congregation chant Psalm 22 antiphonally.’
      sing, intone, incant, recite
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘sing’): from Old French chanter ‘sing’, from Latin cantare, frequentative of canere ‘sing’.