A litany is a long, repetitive list or series of grievances, like your picky brother's litany of complaints about dinner or the litany of critical comments your English teacher writes in the margins of your essay.

The original meaning of litany is a purely religious one. During some Christian services, a member of the clergy recites a litany, a lengthy call-and-response type of prayer. The word's Greek root means "entreaty," and in this religious context, that's an entreaty to God. Its more popular, secular meaning tends to be used in a negative way, as in your grandpa's litany of aches and pains or the litany of complaints from passengers on a stalled subway car.

Definitions of litany

n any long and tedious address or recital

“the patient recited a litany of complaints”
“a litany of failures”
Type of:
address, speech
the act of delivering a formal spoken communication to an audience

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.