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[than-uh-top-sis] /ˌθæn əˈtɒp sɪs/
a view or contemplation of death.
(initial capital letter, italics) a poem (1817) by William Cullen Bryant.
Origin of thanatopsis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for thanatopsis
Historical Examples
  • The importance of "thanatopsis" is at once literary and historical.

  • Do you think any city lad could have written "thanatopsis" at eighteen?

    Being a Boy Charles Dudley Warner
  • His best-known poem, "thanatopsis," was written when he was only nineteen and delivered at his college commencement.

  • And from Bryant the concluding familiar lines of thanatopsis.

  • Of the thanatopsis he thought better, though inclined to suspect it of being a plagiarism.

    The Pilot J. Fenimore Cooper
  • He thought of "thanatopsis," and of the "Elegy," both of which he admired greatly.

    The "Genius" Theodore Dreiser
  • His first poem was thanatopsis , which was greeted as the best poem produced in America up to that time.

  • When she attended her second meeting of the thanatopsis she said nothing about remaking the town.

    Main Street Sinclair Lewis
  • It is a fact, also, that if a boy repeats "thanatopsis" while he is milking, that operation acquires a certain dignity.

    Being a Boy Charles Dudley Warner
  • She suggested that the thanatopsis ought to help the poor of the town.

    Main Street Sinclair Lewis
British Dictionary definitions for thanatopsis


a meditation on death, as in a poem
Word Origin
C19: from Greek thanatos death + opsis a view
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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