Definition of litany in English:

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litany

Pronunciation: /ˈlɪt(ə)ni/

noun (plural litanies)

1A series of petitions for use in church services or processions, usually recited by the clergy and responded to in a recurring formula by the people.
Example sentences
  • Many times in my life, I have heard Perpetua and Felicity mentioned in litanies of saints and prayers of the Church.
  • So out went audible responses, the minister's surplice and the litany.
  • One day just before Easter, we joined a procession which wound along singing litanies, in and out of four churches, before finishing at Santa Chiara, a sort of liturgical pub crawl.
Synonyms
prayer, invocation, petition, supplication, devotion, entreaty
archaic orison
1.1 (the Litany) A litany contained in the Book of Common Prayer.
Example sentences
  • Sympathetically, they sang to him penitential psalms, particularly the Miserere, and the Litany of Loreto, while he gazed at a panel from their diverse collection of tavolette.
  • This was initiated by the singing of Veni, Creator and the Litany, and the saying of several long prayers.
  • About the same time the primers were revised, and the King's Primer issued in 1545 in the interest of uniformity; it included the English Litany.
2A tedious recital or repetitive series: a litany of complaints
More example sentences
  • But the litany of complaints from Government officials cannot be taken up by anyone other than themselves.
  • A similar litany of complaints might have come from any United follower in the street, which is why fan endorsement has been nearly unanimous.
  • Sorry, but I don't have any more time to address your litany of other complaints.
Synonyms
recital, recitation, repetition, enumeration, account, refrain;
list, listing, catalogue, inventory, roll

Origin

Middle English: from Old French letanie, via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek litaneia 'prayer', from litē 'supplication'.

Words that rhyme with litany

Brittany, dittany

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: lit¦any

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