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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for rhapsody
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And he launched into a rhapsody that need not here be given at length.

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

    Making People Happy Thompson Buchanan
  • Having finished this rhapsody, Entragues wrote the beginning of the story of Gaetan Solange, which had long tormented him.

    Very Woman Remy de Gourmont
  • With the purpose which the author had in view, a spice of rhapsody is no defect.

  • Save for the tingling satire of the violin-strings, his rhapsody might easily have lapsed to madness.

    Idolatry Julian Hawthorne
  • You may say, perhaps, that this is rhapsody; but what is love without rhapsody?

    She and I, Volume 1 John Conroy Hutcheson
  • The influence of Renan is manifest through the whole of this rhapsody, which is unique among the writings of its author.

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

    The Midnight Queen May Agnes Fleming
  • Ulysses, the Odyssey tells us, occasionally took the lyre in his own hand and sang a rhapsody of his own adventures.

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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