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1590s, from Latin paean "hymn of deliverance," from Greek paian "hymn, chant, hymn to Apollo," from Paian, a name of the god of healing; originally the physician of the gods (in Homer), later merged with Apollo; literally "one who touches" (i.e. "one who heals by a touch"), from paio "to touch, strike."
solemn choral lyric of invocation, joy, or triumph, originating in ancient Greece, where it was addressed to Apollo in his guise as Paean, physician to the gods. In the Mycenaean Linear B tablets from the late 2nd millennium BC, the word pa-ja-wo-ne is used as a name for a healer god. This god's name was later associated with Apollo and his son Asclepius.