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[pee-uh n] /ˈpi ən/
any song of praise, joy, or triumph.
a hymn of invocation or thanksgiving to Apollo or some other ancient Greek deity.
Also, pean.
Origin of paean
1535-45; < Latin: religious or festive hymn, special use of Paean appellation of Apollo < Greek Paiā́n physician of the gods
Related forms
paeanism, noun
Can be confused
paean, paeon, peon. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for paean
  • At heart this romantic, melancholy tale is a paean to reading and to the life one person lives through books.
  • The Matrix trilogy was one long paean to data visualization.
  • For the book is not a paean to smallness.
  • Tammet seamlessly blends science and personal experience in a powerful paean to the mysteries and beauty of the brain.
  • Now they are, if not singing a paean to the German economy, at least moderating their tone.
  • The mayor's latest annual report on city management is a glowing paean to the rising quality of life under his rule.
  • Climbers will relish this rapturous and penetrating, slightly macho paean to their passion.
  • Henry provides suspense and excitement in this paean to a great sporting event and to the powerful Alaskan landscape.
  • The first half of the book, in highly personal prose, offers a paean to the 35 acres in northern Michigan she calls home.
  • The distinguished author has created a paean to friendship and its constancy, morning, noon and night.
British Dictionary definitions for paean


a hymn sung in ancient Greece in invocation of or thanksgiving to a deity
any song of praise
enthusiastic praise: the film received a paean from the critics
Word Origin
C16: via Latin from Greek paiān hymn to Apollo, from his title Paiān, denoting the physician of the gods
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 paean

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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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