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From Middle English anteme, from Old English antefn, antefen and Old French antiene, anteine, anteivne, from Latin antiphōna, from Ancient Greek ἀντίφωνα (antíphōna), from ἀντί (antí, over against) + φωνή (phōnḗ, voice, sound). Compare antiphon and ant'em.



anthem (plural anthems)

  1. (archaic) Antiphon.
  2. A choral or vocal composition, often with a religious or political lyric.
    The school's anthem sang of its many outstanding qualities, and it was hard to keep a straight face while singing.
  3. A hymn of praise or loyalty.
    The choir sang a selection of Christmas anthems at the service just before the big day.
  4. (informal) A very popular song or track.
    • 2003, Peter Buckley, The rough guide to rock:
      In May 2000, they even finally cracked the UK top ten when they teamed up with Paul Van Dyk on the trance anthem "The Riddle"...

Derived terms[edit]



anthem (third-person singular simple present anthems, present participle antheming, simple past and past participle anthemed)

  1. (transitive, poetic) To celebrate with anthems.