Definition of rhapsode in English:



  • A person who recites epic poems, especially one of a group in ancient Greece whose profession it was to recite the Homeric poems from memory.

    • ‘Unstoppable overspill of abundant fruits and berries, stitched chain of natural hues, fabricant, barbarous, unhooked and lost nobility of the ‘real thing’ rhapsode -’
    • ‘The virtuoso/composer, that nineteenth-century hybrid or monster, reappears in chapter four in the guise of Homer the rhapsode as he was resurrected by Romantic philologists.’
    • ‘The Throne of Labdacus returns to the time when the Sophocles play had not yet premiered, when the tragedy had not yet been cast in stone by scribes and was still mutable in the mouths of rhapsodes and messengers.’
    • ‘These cyclic epics were obviously later than the Homeric poems, and from a time when oral composition had ceased and public performance was by rhapsodes, not traditional bards.’
    • ‘And anyway, we know that the Alexandrian editors consulted rhapsodes on matters of pronunciation, so they may well have consulted rhapsodes on the issue of the division.’
    • ‘Best heed the sea's rote and an iron keel rotten with salt clanging on the rocks; second best, read several thousand lines of interpolated verse and various lists ascribed to a quite imaginary rhapsode called Homer.’


From Greek rhapsōidos, from rhapsōidia (see rhapsody).