Saturday, May 14, 2016

Word of the day: dithyrambic

The word of the day is dithyrambic:
  1. a Greek choral song or chant of vehement or wild character and of usually irregular form, originally in honor of Dionysus or Bacchus.
  2. any poem or other composition having similar characteristics, as an impassioned or exalted theme or irregular form.
  3. any wildly enthusiastic speech or writing.
c.1600, from L. dithyrambus, from Gk. dithyrambos, of unknown origin, perhaps a pre-Hellenic loan-word. A wild choric hymn, originally in honor of Dionysus. Related: Dithyrambic.


"I'd written a good dissertation and I expected an honorable mention.  Yet to my surprise I received a special commendation, and I was even more surprised when I saw the committee's report, which was excellent, practically dithyrambic."

 - Michel Houellebecq, as translated by Lorin Stein, Submission

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