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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.
    • Keats
      Sweet birds antheming the morn.