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or requiem

[rek-wee-uh m, ree-kwee-, rey-] /ˈrɛk wi əm, ˈri kwi-, ˈreɪ-/
Roman Catholic Church.
  1. Also called Requiem Mass. the Mass celebrated for the repose of the souls of the dead.
  2. a celebration of this Mass.
  3. a plainsong setting for this Mass.
any musical service, hymn, or dirge for the repose of the dead.
Origin of Requiem
1275-1325; Middle English < Latin, accusative of requiēs rest (the first word of the introit of the mass for the dead) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for requiem mass
Historical Examples
  • But a requiem mass for one's own father must necessarily be unique in the most varied career of religious emotion.

    The Velvet Glove Henry Seton Merriman
  • One of its first duties was to sing a requiem mass over his remains.

    The Jesuits, 1534-1921 Thomas J. Campbell
  • The requiem mass is the "mass for the dead" and differs considerably from the ordinary mass.

  • A requiem mass in the Madeleine for victims of the war up to that date was a most impressive service.

  • When Roma came to full possession of herself after the requiem mass, the cortège was on its way to the cemetery.

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • As celebrant of the requiem mass Father Agnew, in cape and stole, chanted the versicles and gave the absolutions.

    The Crime of the Century Henry M. Hunt
  • In the morning, all the priests and clerks of the country round gathered, at his request, and sang a requiem mass before the tomb.

  • In addition to these works he has written a great "requiem mass," and many smaller works.

  • In the magnificent abbey of Alcobaça the requiem mass was sung, and the corpse finally laid to rest.

    A History of Mourning Richard Davey
  • The project of a requiem mass was of particular interest to him; it comes to the fore frequently.

    Beethoven George Alexander Fischer
British Dictionary definitions for requiem mass


(RC Church) a Mass celebrated for the dead
a musical setting of this Mass
any piece of music composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person or persons
Word Origin
C14: from Latin requiēs rest, from the opening of the introit, Requiem aeternam dona eis Rest eternal grant unto them
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 requiem mass



"mass for repose of the soul of the dead," c.1300, from Latin requiem, accusative singular of requies "rest (after labor), repose," from re-, intensive prefix (see re-), + quies "quiet" (see quiet (adj.)). It is the first word of the Mass for the Dead in the Latin liturgy: Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine .... ["Grant them eternal rest, O Lord ...."]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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requiem mass in Culture
Requiem [(rek-wee-uhm)]

In music, a Mass for one or more dead persons, containing biblical passages and prayers for the admission of the dead to heaven. The term has been loosely applied to other musical compositions in honor of the dead. A German Requiem by Johannes Brahms, for example, uses texts from the Bible but is not a Mass.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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