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[rap-suh-dee] /ˈræp sə di/
noun, plural rhapsodies.
Music. an instrumental composition irregular in form and suggestive of improvisation.
an ecstatic expression of feeling or enthusiasm.
an epic poem, or a part of such a poem, as a book of the Iliad, suitable for recitation at one time.
a similar piece of modern literature.
an unusually intense or irregular poem or piece of prose.
Archaic. a miscellaneous collection; jumble.
Origin of rhapsody
1535-45; < Latin rhapsōdia < Greek rhapsōidía recital of epic poetry, equivalent to rhapsōid(ós) rhapsodist + -ia -y3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rhapsody
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Your rhapsody, happy or not, will it not awaken the suspicions of De Chemerant?

  • During this rhapsody, her hand had been on the handle of the door.

    The Midnight Queen May Agnes Fleming
  • "Lots of girls are stage-struck," he said presently, breaking in on Mr. Martel's rhapsody.

    Quin Alice Hegan Rice
  • I had been listening to this rhapsody with the greatest admiration, when just then Bittra came in.

    My New Curate P.A. Sheehan
  • She can take a Hungarian rhapsody and turn it into a goulash in about 32 bars.

  • The rhapsody, although genuine enough, was not satisfying to the wife.

    Making People Happy Thompson Buchanan
  • With the purpose which the author had in view, a spice of rhapsody is no defect.

  • A friend once told me that he had said of me that I made arithmetic a rhapsody.

    Marge Askinforit Barry Pain
  • You may say, perhaps, that this is rhapsody; but what is love without rhapsody?

    She and I, Volume 1 John Conroy Hutcheson
British Dictionary definitions for rhapsody


noun (pl) -dies
(music) a composition free in structure and highly emotional in character
an expression of ecstatic enthusiasm
(in ancient Greece) an epic poem or part of an epic recited by a rhapsodist
a literary work composed in an intense or exalted style
rapturous delight or ecstasy
(obsolete) a medley
Word Origin
C16: via Latin from Greek rhapsōidia, from rhaptein to sew together + ōidē song
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rhapsody

1540s, "epic poem," from Middle French rhapsodie, from Latin rhapsodia, from Greek rhapsoidia "verse composition, recitation of epic poetry; a book, a lay, a canto," from rhapsodos "reciter of epic poems," literally "one who stitches or strings songs together," from rhaptein "to stitch, sew, weave" (see wrap (v.)) + oide "song" (see ode). Meaning "exalted enthusiastic feeling or expression" is from 1630s. Meaning "sprightly musical composition" is first recorded 1850s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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