Share this entry

dithyramb Syllabification: dith·y·ramb
Pronunciation: /ˈdiTHəˌram/

Definition of dithyramb in English:


1A wild choral hymn of ancient Greece, especially one dedicated to Dionysus.
Example sentences
  • His Bacco in Toscana, published in 1685, is subtitled ditirambo, the Greek dithyramb being a choral lyric in praise of Dionysus.
  • Plato observes that the types were once distinct: a hymn would not be confused with a dirge, dithyramb, or paean.
  • So theologian Harvey Cox, in his dithyramb on the resurrection of Dionysus, applauded us for ushering in a new age.
1.1A passionate or inflated speech, poem, or other writing.
Example sentences
  • Epic, and tragic poetry, and also comedy and dithyramb and most flute and harp-music, are all by and large imitations.
  • He suddenly bursts into a dithyramb on what it is to be such a thing as a Canadian poet.
  • Ask him about the weather and he delivers a an eccentric little dithyramb on whether or not karate can be viewed with the third eye.


Early 17th century: via Latin from Greek dithurambos, of unknown ultimate origin.



Pronunciation: /ˌdiTHəˈrambik/
Example sentences
  • The dithyrambic chorus is a chorus of the transformed.
  • From time to time he'd been forced to wax dithyrambic even about the pretend engineers.
  • Even Shelton had waxed philosophical and dithyrambic at his passing.

Words that rhyme with dithyramb

epigram • centigram

Definition of dithyramb in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day doofus
Pronunciation: ˈduːfʌs
a stupid person