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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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for paeans
  • In this respect, targeted criticisms of protectionist actions may be more effective than general paeans to free trade.
  • The principal paeans of protection from all ionizing radiation is shielding.
  • They've been celebrating the centennial of her birthday with paeans to her saintliness.
British Dictionary definitions for paeans


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 paeans



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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Encyclopedia Article for paeans


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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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