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Latin philippicus, from Ancient Greek φιλιππικός (philippikós), from Φίλιππος (Phílippos, lover of horses), from φιλο- (philo-) + ίππος (íppos, horse).



philippic (plural philippics)

  1. Any of the discourses of Demosthenes against Philip II of Macedon, defending the liberty of Athens.
  2. (by extension) Any tirade or declamation full of bitter condemnation.
    • 1811, Jane Austen, “Volume II, Chapter XII (a.k.a. Chapter 34)”, in Sense and Sensibility[1], page 234:
      Mrs. Ferrars looked exceedingly angry, and drawing herself up more stiffly than ever, pronounced in retort this bitter phillipic; “Miss Morton is Lord Morton’s daughter.”
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses:
      Skin-the-Goat, assuming he was he, evidently with an axe to grind, was airing his grievances in a forcible-feeble philippic anent the natural resources of Ireland, or something of that sort, which he described in his lengthy dissertation as the richest country bar none on the face of God’s earth, far and away superior to England
    • 2017 September 7, Ferdinand Mount, “Umbrageousness”, in London Review of Books[2]:
      As a young man, Lytton Strachey admired Hastings and wrote a long thesis on him, while dismissing Burke as ‘an ignorant enthusiast’. What strikes me on rereading those great philippics is, on the contrary, their exactness and perceptiveness.