From Middle English salm or psalme, from Old English psealm, later reinforced from Old French psalme (modern French psaume), both from Latin psalmus, from Ancient Greek ψαλμός (psalmos, “the sound emenating from twitching or twanging perhaps with the hands or fingers, mostly of musical strings”) (from ψάλλω (psallo, “to make a sound by striking, touching, plucking, rubbing, twanging, or vibrating”)), but later in New Testament times the meaning of ψαλμός (psalmos) evolved from its Classical meaning of "a tune played to the harp" to a more general tune that could be played with any instrument; even a song sung with or without their accompaniment. By the Byzantine Period, it lost all of its instrumental characteristics.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /sɑːm/
- (US) IPA(key): /sɑm/, /sɑlm/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɑːm
psalm (plural psalms)
- (music) A sacred song; a poetical composition for use in the praise or worship of God.
- Especially, one of the hymns by David and others, collected into one book of the Old Testament, or a modern metrical version of such a hymn for public worship.
- Psalms (name of the book of the Bible in which the psalms are collected)
- To extol in psalms; to make music; to sing; as, psalming his praises.
- Denominations in Sweden outside of the Church of Sweden (e.g. baptists) have traditionally not used the word psalm, but rather visa, sång (song). Recent integrated hymnbooks are titled Psalmer och visor (1976) and Psalmer och Sånger (1987) to indicated that they cover both the Church of Sweden and other denominations.