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[an-thuh m] /ˈæn θəm/
a song, as of praise, devotion, or patriotism:
the national anthem of Spain; our college anthem.
a piece of sacred vocal music, usually with words taken from the Scriptures.
a hymn sung alternately by different sections of a choir or congregation.
verb (used with object)
to celebrate with or in an anthem.
Origin of anthem
before 1000; Middle English antem, Old English antemn(e), antefne < Late Latin antefana, antiphōna (feminine singular) < Greek antíphōna (see antiphon); spelling with h probably by association with hymn, with pronunciation then changed to reflect spelling Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for anthem
  • The construction crane is now the city's emblem, the racket of drills its anthem.
  • Ask students if they are familiar with their own national anthem.
  • It's also the enraged anthem of anyone who's had problems with cell phone reception.
  • As part of the daily morning activates at his high school, the national anthem is played.
  • Almost everyone, from generals to cattle herders has been learning the new national anthem.
  • Then ask them what feelings they get when they look at the flag or when they sing the national anthem at a ball game or elsewhere.
  • Meditate for a moment on the word dude, as it was used long before it became a one-word anthem for the slacker generation.
  • The meeting ends with the singing of the national anthem at one thirty, so that everyone can be back at work by two.
  • Not with prop bets-those silly-yet-serious wagers that cover everything from the national anthem to the commercials.
  • Speaker one will ask that everyone rise for the pledge and/or national anthem.
British Dictionary definitions for anthem


a song of loyalty or devotion, as to a nation or college: a national anthem
a musical composition for a choir, usually set to words from the Bible, sung as part of a church service
a religious chant sung antiphonally
a popular rock or pop song
Derived Forms
anthemic (ænˈθɛmɪk) adjective
Word Origin
Old English antemne, from Late Latin antiphōnaantiphon
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for anthem

Old English ontemn, antefn, "a composition (in prose or verse) sung antiphonally," from Late Latin antefana, from Greek antiphona "verse response" (see antiphon). Sense evolved to "a composition set to sacred music" (late 14c.), then "song of praise or gladness" (1590s). Used in reference to the English national song (technically, as OED points out, a hymn) and extended to those of other nations. Modern spelling is from late 16c., perhaps an attempt to make the word look more Greek.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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