One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A song or poem celebrating a marriage.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘But if I take it in mind to publish an epithalamium without the author's consent, I commit an offense.’
- ‘In this case, the five repetitions of ‘joy’ even have a possible numerological significance, since five is a ‘nuptial number’ frequently used in epithalamia.’
- ‘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.’
Late 16th century: via Latin from Greek epithalamion, from epi ‘upon’ + thalamos ‘bridal chamber’.
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