Definition of paean in US English:



  • 1A song of praise or triumph.

    • ‘The title is drawn from the Song of Solomon - a paean to life at its most intense.’
    • ‘This is an opera unlike any other - an unabashed paean to music, to nature, and to the mystical path to joy seen in the figure of Francis (sung movingly by baritone Willard White).’
    • ‘Lyric poetry included dithyrambs, encomia, paeans, and hymns.’
    • ‘Where other singers had songs that (even tangentially) referred to the hardships of life, the Copper family's songs are mostly paeans of praise to a farming life that is hard work, but rewarding.’
    • ‘The Ustad sung paeans of her musical skills as well as that of her illustrious father, the late Ustad Vilayat Khan, who was an eminent sitar player.’
    • ‘Count on more of his unusual routines, such as his strenuously graceful paeans to classical opera, sung by his favorite singer.’
    • ‘The Perishers believe their beautifully crafted songs read as a melancholy paean to life in their hometown of Umeå, Sweden, where the dark, snowcapped winters stretch from October to April.’
    • ‘Beethoven's only opera, both a love story and a paean to freedom, is full of dramatic and musical inconsistencies, yet it works brilliantly.’
    • ‘But Ballantyne is quick to qualify Hardin's confessional songwriting, especially his many paeans to the love of his life, his wife Susan (for whom he wrote Suite for Susan Moore), as a false indicator of a fragile soul.’
    • ‘The act ends with a paean of created Nature as the wordless chorus - sung with the characteristic ebullience of the Opera North Chorus - takes up the Wedding Chant.’
    • ‘These are not songs filled with surreal invocations but just paeans to love, life and the simple pleasures that make it all worthwhile.’
    • ‘Then, gradually, a light is seen in Diemut's room, and suddenly all the flames burst out, and the opera ends in a paean of love.’
    • ‘The former is 7 songs over 38 minutes, a paean to domestic bliss, to chores and children and Citizen Kane and Joan of Arc and Elvis.’
    • ‘So the opera ends with another paean to Nature, again in D flat major, and only a shade less triumphant than the wedding song of the mated foxes at the end of Act II.’
    • ‘Clay tablets with its spindly arrangements of flicks and crosses started to appear by the thousands, recording paeans, epics and incantations.’
    • ‘The original lyrics were swapped with political overtones that sang paeans of the political party.’
    • ‘In the armies of classical Greece, the paean or war-chant was the standard opening to set-piece battles.’
    • ‘The priests and nuns routinely punctuated their prayers with paeans in praise of the goodness and greatness of Pius XII.’
    • ‘The first single, ‘Echo's Answer, ‘is a musical paean to foggy nights in a coastal village.’’
    1. 1.1 A thing that expresses enthusiastic praise.
      ‘his books are paeans to combat’
      • ‘The play is a character-driven comedy but also becomes a paean to the joy that achieving even modest goals can bring.’
      • ‘Interwoven with the tale of the group sighting the great bustard is a paean to the kind of childhood that has all but disappeared, and a study of a father-and-son relationship of both huge emotional distance and tender intimacy.’
      • ‘The first few minutes of the film are a paean to romantic love, recreating that intensity and joy with disarming simplicity.’
      • ‘Instead, the book is a paean to family, the navy and heroism.’
      • ‘How odd that an assignment to write about a film I'd never seen turns into a paean to the one movie I've viewed more often than any other - and will doubtlessly see repeatedly long before Nashville enters my thoughts unsolicited again.’
      • ‘The film, then, works both as a paean to old age and a bittersweet look at a bygone era.’
      • ‘Watch the heritage programmes that fail to enliven our television viewing and you will hear paeans of praise for the most ghastly buildings whose only merit is their decrepitude.’
      • ‘These films are a steady countercurrent to the seemingly endless paeans to World War II, a recognition that there have been quite a few wars and generations since the ‘greatest.’’
      • ‘All the poems are short paeans to the indomitable courage of ordinary suffering people.’
      • ‘Its central atrium is literally breathtaking, a joyous paean of luminous space, with which the office floors engage in terraces, balconies and platforms.’
      • ‘The book is an unabashed paean to the actresses, and their roles, who account for so much of its interest.’
      • ‘The movie Hoosiers is a paean to basketball in Indiana, a fable born of reality, the Cinderella heroes coming from a small town named Hickory.’
      • ‘The whole production, really, is a paean to the beauty of Olivia, who, as played by Blais, displays none of the blandness this character sometimes falls into.’
      • ‘But the book was ultimately a paean to man's fighting spirit.’
      • ‘In a space stripped of its Catholic and royal decoration, the tomb became a secular paean to a republican hero.’
      • ‘In its fuller exposition, the poem is a paean to the westward expansion of the country.’
      • ‘Many people have tried to write paeans of praise to horses, but few have succeeded like Ronald Duncan in his Ode to the Horse.’
      • ‘But despite these revelations, the novel is a paean to the power of the aesthetic.’
      • ‘Many of his poems are on one level paeans to the existence of colour, the apprehension of which often provides the substance and the occasion of poetry.’
      • ‘This novel is a dreamy paean to a place that at times seems to transcend the bounds of reality.’
      song of praise, hymn, psalm, anthem, shout of praise, alleluia
      View synonyms


Late 16th century: via Latin from Greek paian ‘hymn of thanksgiving to Apollo’ (invoked by the name Paian, originally the Homeric name for the physician of the gods).