Definition of epithalamium in US English:


(also epithalamion)

nounPlural epithalamions, Plural epithalamiums, Plural epithalamia

  • A song or poem celebrating a marriage.

    • ‘But if I take it in mind to publish an epithalamium without the author's consent, I commit an offense.’
    • ‘But Green also chose ‘She Like the Moon Arises’, a very slight love poem, and ‘Celebration of Love’, a long and ambitious, but flawed epithalamium.’
    • ‘The Visigoths had openly aped the imperial court when King Athaulf married Galla Placidia in 411, a marriage celebrated by an official epithalamium (marriage-poem) delivered by a senator.’
    • ‘If we take Byron seriously, we can turn the mask of tragedy into the mask of comedy only by replacing the elegy with the epithalamium.’
    • ‘In this case, the five repetitions of ‘joy’ even have a possible numerological significance, since five is a ‘nuptial number’ frequently used in epithalamia.’


Late 16th century: via Latin from Greek epithalamion, from epi ‘upon’ + thalamos ‘bridal chamber’.