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[kan-ti-kuh l] /ˈkæn tɪ kəl/
one of the nonmetrical hymns or chants, chiefly from the Bible, used in church services.
a song, poem, or hymn especially of praise.
Origin of canticle
1175-1225; Middle English (< Old French) < Latin canticulum, equivalent to cantic(um) song (see canticum) + -ulum -ule Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for canticle
Historical Examples
  • The canticle of Jeremias and Ezechiel to the people of the captivity, when they began to go out.

  • The organ rolled diffusing the flutelike notes of a canticle of joy.

  • Still more striking is the eulogy in his "canticle of the Shining Ones."

    Flowers of Freethought George W. Foote
  • Then, in a slow and monotonous voice, he recited the canticle.

    The Red Lily, Complete Anatole France
  • Madame Vincent, whose voice was drowned by this canticle of love, now only sobbed, with her hands pressed to her face.

  • For the first time a German painter sings the canticle of labour.

  • The King of Navarre went on with the canticle; and had no sooner finished it than the prince was born who now reigns over France.

    Barn and the Pyrenees Louisa Stuart Costello
  • But a litany before the air and a canticle after the air are not the same thing.

    The Life of Rossini Henry Sutherland Edwards
  • It was bad form—and yet we should never have known much about Regner Lodbrog but for such a canticle.

    Memoirs Charles Godfrey Leland
  • It hath been promoted in some constructions from a passage in the canticle,Can.

British Dictionary definitions for canticle


a nonmetrical hymn, derived from the Bible and used in the liturgy of certain Christian churches
a song, poem, or hymn, esp one that is religious in character
Word Origin
C13: from Latin canticulum, diminutive of canticus a song, from canere to sing
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 canticle

"short hymn," early 13c., from Latin canticulum "a little song," diminutive of canticum "song" (also a scene in Roman comedy enacted by one person and accompanied by music and dancing), from cantus (see chant (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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