Definition of psalm in US English:


(also Psalm)


  • 1A sacred song or hymn, in particular any of those contained in the biblical Book of Psalms and used in Christian and Jewish worship.

    ‘a delightful setting of Psalm 150’
    • ‘We read the opening psalm in the book of Psalms and we meet there the blessed man.’
    • ‘His Psalm 71 is instructive for he considers the very matter of evildoing, and in psalm after psalm his recourse is in prayer to God.’
    • ‘This psalm is about marriage and family and work.’
    • ‘Earlier in the psalm King David compares himself to a sheep following the shepherd.’
    • ‘Inspired by the balance, beauty, and life-generating dynamism of creation, the psalms offer songs of praise to the Creator.’
    • ‘This psalm blesses us with the promise that our lives have meaning and partake of the majesty of God.’
    • ‘One of his favorite psalms, which he quoted regularly and assigned to his preaching seminar, was Psalm 90.’
    • ‘I became very attentive to the music used at Mass and collected all the responsorial psalms, hymns, and songs.’
    • ‘Like manna in the desert and the Eucharist, the psalm evokes the joyful knowing of God with our physical hunger.’
    • ‘The Rosary has its origins in the psalms, which monastic communities would recite as part of their daily petitions, such as psalm repetition for the deceased in purgatory.’
    • ‘The professor believes the musical tradition came from Scottish slave-owners who brought their religious practices and psalms with them across the Atlantic.’
    • ‘Church had been pretty much a blur to her, she'd talked to the usual people listened to the sermon, sung the hymns, and read the psalms and prayers.’
    • ‘Edith remained a devoted daughter, accompanying her mother to synagogue, but reading the psalms from her missal.’
    • ‘And on the Cross he cried out in agony, quoting a psalm that speaks of divine abandonment.’
    • ‘Although usually identified as a penitential psalm, Psalm 130 is also clearly a song of hope.’
    • ‘Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works!’
    • ‘He introduces tools for examining conscience and includes a collection of confession stories, a sermon, and related psalms.’
    • ‘Following a series of hymns and psalms at the service Deacon Dennis Sutton addressed the congregation in Italian.’
    • ‘In leisure men should not talk of sin but they should take comfort in the psalms and songs.’
    • ‘The entrance rite began with the choir singing an introit psalm, a full psalm.’
    sacred song, hymn, song of praise, religious song, anthem, carol, chant, plainsong, canticle, antiphon, introit, prayer
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A book of the Bible comprising a collection of religious verses, sung or recited in both Jewish and Christian worship. Many are traditionally ascribed to King David.


Old English (p)sealm, via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek psalmos ‘song sung to harp music’, from psallein ‘to pluck’.