Definition of anthem in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈanθəm/


1A rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause: the song became the anthem for hippy activists
More example sentences
  • The Last Night of the Proms tomorrow has dropped some of the rousing anthems associated with it, including Rule, Britannia!
  • And where his songs were once communal anthems for misfits everywhere, his writing is now so coldly inward-gazing that it excludes the interests of everyone but Morrissey.
  • The song has become an anthem for the school so I am delighted that it has made it to the final of this competition.
1.1 (also national anthem) A solemn patriotic song officially adopted by a country as an expression of national identity: the crowd stood and sang the national anthem we decided that the match would not have the anthems of either country as a prelude
More example sentences
  • The Czech anthem is a more solemn affair.
  • In recent years, the national anthem has lost its patriotic air in most sports venues.
  • As prayers were said, hymns were sung and the national anthems of both Britain and America were played, there was a tinge of sadness in the air because it is likely that this could have been the last such service.
2A musical setting of a religious text to be sung by a choir during a church service, especially in Anglican or Protestant Churches.
Example sentences
  • Like his father, Alfonso the younger was well known as a composer of church music, writing English anthems for the Anglican Church as well as motets to Latin words.
  • Kendal Choral opens proceedings by singing five anthems in the Anglican church tradition starting with the 16th century and concluding in the present.
  • Other works include The Nativity for soprano and orchestra, sacred choral anthems, hymn preludes for organ and works for trumpet and organ.
hymn, song, song of praise, chorale, psalm, paean, plainsong, chant, canticle


Old English antefn, antifne (denoting a composition sung antiphonally), from late Latin antiphona (see antiphon). The spelling with th, which began in the 16th century, was on the pattern of similar words such as Antony, Anthony.

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