Rousing, reverential, sometimes even revolutionary, an anthem is a song that represents the ideals of a group of people.

Anthem comes from Old English antefn. The original word meant a song sung antiphonally, or in turns by two groups of singers. Today, anthem has little to do with the way the vocals are arranged and more to do with the content of the message. When a group of people sing an anthem, whether it’s the national anthem, or the anthem of your third-grader’s beetle-collecting club, they express their devotion to a cause they identify with.

Definitions of anthem

n a song of devotion or loyalty (as to a nation or school)

the French national anthem
The Star-Spangled Banner
a poem written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 was set to music and adopted by Congress in 1931 as the national anthem of the United States
national anthem
a song formally adopted as the anthem for a nation
Type of:
song, vocal
a short musical composition with words

n a song of praise (to God or to a saint or to a nation)

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Dies Irae
the first words of a medieval Latin hymn describing the Last Judgment (literally `day of wrath')
a revolutionary socialist anthem
Te Deum
an ancient liturgical hymn
(Luke) the canticle of the Virgin Mary (from Luke 1:46 beginning `Magnificat anima mea Dominum')
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(ancient Greece) a passionate hymn (usually in honor of Dionysus)
a hymn or verse in Christian liturgy glorifying God
choral, chorale
a stately Protestant (especially Lutheran) hymn tune
a hymn derived from the Bible
a wedding hymn
paean, pean
(ancient Greece) a hymn of praise (especially one sung in ancient Greece to invoke or thank a deity)
a hymn that is sung at the end of a service as the clergy and choir withdraw
Type of:
religious song
religious music for singing

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