national anthem

World English Dictionary
national anthem
 
n
a patriotic hymn or other song adopted by a nation for use on public or state occasions

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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

national anthem

hymn or song expressing patriotic sentiment and either governmentally authorized as an official national hymn or holding that position in popular feeling. The oldest national anthem is Great Britain's "God Save the Queen," which was described as a national anthem in 1825, although it had been popular as a patriotic song and used on occasions of royal ceremonial since the mid-18th century.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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