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From Latin encōmium (praise, eulogy), from Ancient Greek ἐγκώμιον (enkṓmion, laudatory ode, praise), from ἐγκώμιος (enkṓmios, of or pertaining to the victor), from κῶμος (kômos, festival, revel, ode).



encomium (plural encomiums or encomia)

  1. Warm praise, especially a formal expression of such praise; a tribute.
    • 1763, Antoine-Simon Le Page du Pratz, The History of Louisiana: Or of the Western Parts of Virginia and Carolina: Containing a Description of the Countries that Lye on both Sides of the River Missisipi [sic]: With an Account of the Settlements [...] Translated from the French [...] by M. Le Page du Pratz; with some Notes and Observations [...] In two volumes. [...], London: Printed for T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, OCLC 181837275 (English translation of Histoire de la Louisiane : contenant la découverte de ce vaste pays, sa description géographique, un voyage dans les terres, l'histoire naturelle, les mœurs, coûtumes & religion des naturels, avec leurs origines : deux voyages dans le nord du nouveau Mexique, dont un jusqu'à la mer du Sud : ornée de deux cartes & de 40 planches en taille douce, Paris : Chez de Bure, l'aîné [...], la veuve Delaguette [...], Lambert [...], 1758, OCLC 1651361), page 39:
      I rejoined our people, and expected a reprimand for having forced the enemy without orders; though I had my excuse ready. But here I was mistaken; for I met with nothing but encomiums.
    • 1842, [anonymous collaborator of Letitia Elizabeth Landon], chapter LII, in Lady Anne Granard; or, Keeping up Appearances. [], volume III, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, page 38:
      ...and where he never failed to lavish on me every gift his fortune could supply, delight me by the encomiums he bestowed on my music and needlework (always an object of importance in a nunnery), and prove, by his admiring looks and his tender tones, how entirely he loved me.
    • 1912 January, Zane Grey, chapter 3, in Riders of the Purple Sage [], New York, N.Y., London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, →OCLC:
      "I never seen their like," was Lassiter's encomium, "an' in my day I've seen a sight of horses."
    • 1944 March and April, Cecil J. Allen, “British Locomotive Practice and Performance”, in Railway Magazine, page 89:
      Many a new locomotive class has received encomiums in these columns because its early work was outstanding, judged by the then prevailing standards.
    • 1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter X:
      I am, you will agree, mature, and in my earlier days I won no little praise for my skill at hunt-the-slipper. I remember one of the hostesses whose Christmas parties I attended comparing me to a juvenile bloodhound. An extravagant encomium, of course, but that is what she said.
    • 1962 June, “New Reading on Railways: The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway, Part Nine: Two-Cylinder Classes. The Railway Correspondence & Travel Society, 12s.”, in Modern Railways, page 432:
      This is the last part but one (No. 10, dealing with engines absorbed after 1922, is still to come) of the monumental R.C.T.S. history, which needs no further encomium for students of G.W.R. locomotive practice.
    • 1991, Adrienne Laskier Martín, Cervantes and the Burlesque Sonnet, Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, →ISBN, page 141:
      A more classical, adoxographic tone characterizes an encomium of the ass contained in Pero Mexía's 1547 Diálogos. In it the donkey is praised for its humility and integrity, as well as for its practicality: the she-ass's milk is recommended as both an antidote for poison and a skin cleanser, the animal is a good mount for soldiers, and even its meat is tasty.
    • 2001, Phiroze Vasunia, The Gift of the Nile: Hellenizing Egypt from Aeschylus to Alexander, Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, →ISBN, page 193:
      As Philodemus indicated in antiquity, encomia of Busiris [by Isocrates] belong to this category of "paradoxical" or "adoxographic" treatises, which flourished in nearly all periods of ancient Greek literature. These were speeches written in the encomiastic style on subjects that were immediately recognizable to ancient audiences as vile, trivial, ridiculous, or otherwise unsuited to praise.
    • 2014, Annette H. Tomarken, The Smile of Truth: The French Satirical Eulogy and Its Antecedents, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, →ISBN, pages 6–7:
      [] Polycrates' encomium on mice dwelt upon their service to the Egyptians in gnawing the bowstrings and shield handles of invading enemies, while Philostratus, praising hair, gave examples of long-haired heroes at Troy. Appion's praise of adultery recalls the love affairs of Zeus and other gods, and Libanus stresses the good parentage of Thersites, ugliest of the Greeks who fought against Troy. But for all their diversity of individual arguments, the overall pattern for these playful or "adoxographic" works remains that of the serious encomium, and their subject matter can conveniently be grouped under the three broad headings of vice, disease, and animals.
  2. (rhetoric) A general category of oratory.
  3. (rhetoric) A method within rhetorical pedagogy.
  4. The eighth exercise in the progymnasmata series.
  5. (literature) A genre of literature that included five elements: prologue, birth and upbringing, acts of the person's life, comparisons used to praise the subject, and an epilogue.






encomium m (plural encomiums)

  1. an Ancient Greek literary genre of praise
  2. (obsolete) dictionary




Borrowed from Ancient Greek ἐγκώμιον (enkṓmion, laudatory ode, praise).



encōmium n (genitive encōmiī or encōmī); second declension

  1. Praise, eulogy.


Second-declension noun (neuter).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative encōmium encōmia
Genitive encōmiī
Dative encōmiō encōmiīs
Accusative encōmium encōmia
Ablative encōmiō encōmiīs
Vocative encōmium encōmia

1Found in older Latin (until the Augustan Age).

Related terms[edit]



  • encomium”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • encomium in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette