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[chant, chahnt] /tʃænt, tʃɑnt/
a short, simple melody, especially one characterized by single notes to which an indefinite number of syllables are intoned, used in singing psalms, canticles, etc., in church services.
a psalm, canticle, or the like, chanted or for chanting.
the singing or intoning of all or portions of a liturgical service.
any monotonous song.
a song; singing:
the chant of a bird.
a monotonous intonation of the voice in speaking.
a phrase, slogan, or the like, repeated rhythmically and insistently, as by a crowd.
verb (used with object)
to sing to a chant, or in the manner of a chant, especially in a church service.
to sing.
to celebrate in song.
to repeat (a phrase, slogan, etc.) rhythmically and insistently.
verb (used without object)
to sing.
to utter a chant.
1350-1400; (v.) Middle English chanten < Middle French chanter < Latin cantāre, frequentative of canere to sing; (noun) < French chant < Latin cantus; see canto
Related forms
chantable, adjective
chantingly, adverb
half-chanted, adjective
unchanted, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for chanting
  • The two-hour forum drew chanting protesters and a police escort for the school board members.
  • Cultists wired electrodes to their heads while chanting ancient mantras and logging on to computer nets.
  • After a period of chanting, the artist started an extremely painful tattooing process that often lasted six or eight hours.
  • One imagines chanting and drumming, the animals on the great pillars seeming to move in flickering torchlight.
  • For the people who live here, the chanting call to prayer rings over and over from the day you are born until the day you die.
  • There must have been chanting, as it was on the hour.
  • Half a dozen bodyguards surrounded him as chanting crowds pressed forward to shake his hand.
  • But once the cheering and the chanting had died down, serious questions remained.
  • Meditating by chanting may help you calm down, but may not be the best choice if you're in an interview.
  • The chanting outside of the window, that's my first recollection.
British Dictionary definitions for chanting


a simple song or melody
a short simple melody in which several words or syllables are assigned to one note, as in the recitation of psalms
a psalm or canticle performed by using such a melody
a rhythmic or repetitious slogan, usually spoken or sung, as by sports supporters, etc
monotonous or singsong intonation in speech
to sing or recite (a psalm, prayer, etc) as a chant
to intone (a slogan) rhythmically or repetitiously
to speak or say monotonously as if intoning a chant
Derived Forms
chanting, noun, adjective
chantingly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Old French chanter to sing, from Latin cantāre, frequentative of canere to sing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for chanting
late 14c., from O.Fr. chanter, from L. cantare, freq. of canere "sing," from PIE base *kan- "to sing" (cf. Gk. eikanos "cock," O.E. hana "cock," both lit. "bird who sings for sunrise;" O.Ir. caniaid "sings," Welsh canu "sing"). The frequentative quality of the word was no longer felt in L., and by the time Fr. emerged the word had entirely displaced canere.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for chanting


the Gregorian chant (q.v.) and, by extension, other similar religious chants. The word derives from the 13th-century Latin term cantus planus ("plain song"), referring to the unmeasured rhythm and monophony (single line of melody) of Gregorian chant, as distinguished from the measured rhythm of polyphonic (multipart) music, called cantus mensuratus, or cantus figuratus ("measured," or "figured," song). Its other main application is to ancient Christian music with the same unmeasured rhythm and monophony-in the West, Ambrosian, Gallican, and Mozarabic chants (qq.v.); in the East, Byzantine, Syrian, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Armenian chants (qq.v.). It may also refer to similar non-Christian religious music, such as Jewish and Hindu chants.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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